Akali Dal workers vandalise Rajiv Gandhi’s statue in Ludhiana; Congress, SAD have war of words

Paint was sprayed by the miscreants on the statue at the Salem Tabri area. They carried out the act in full public glare and blamed Rajiv Gandhi for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, police said.

Published: 25th December 2018 02:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th December 2018 04:51 AM   |  A+A-

The vandalised statue of late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi at Vepery in the year 2011. Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: While raising their discontent over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Shiromani Akali Dal
(SAD) workers vandalised and smeared black colour on the statue of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at Salem Tabri area of Ludhiana on Tuesday.

The two leaders, were identified as Meetpal Dugri and Gurdeep Singh Gosha. They alleged that Rajiv Gandhi was the mastermind behind the riots and all his statues all over the country should be removed. They also demanded a special session of the State Assembly to pass a resolution for withdrawing Bharat Ratna given to Rajiv Gandhi.

Gosha said, "We don’t fear the law. Despite the Congress Government in power, we will continue to blacken the statues of Rajiv Gandhi.”

Soon after, Congress leader Gursimran Singh Mand cleaned the statue with his turban and milk. Meanwhile, Ludhiana Congress president Gurpreet Singh Gogi said they have registered a complaint with the police.

Strongly condemning the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh asked Sukhbir Singh Badal to stop indulging in petty politics, warning him that such acts would backfire in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

He also asked Sukhbir to immediately apologise for the act. Indulgence in such petty and condemnable actions will not absolve you or your family of the many sins against the Guru Granth Sahib and the Sikh community, he further told Sukhbir.

Amarinder directed the district police to immediately identify the culprits responsible for the violence and take stringent action against them, as per law.

Lashing out at the Akalis, Amarinder said in their desperation to win public support, which the party had completely lost due to its criminal acts during the ten years of SAD-BJP rule, the Badals and their
supporters were stooping to abominable levels.

They are well aware of the fact that the Gandhis were never named or implicated in the 1984 riots, yet they continued to drag the family into the case to further their own political agenda, he added.

SAD president Sukhbir Badal reacted strongly to Amarinder's statements. "You @capt_amarinder should apologise to the Sikh sangat for failing them as CM and standing with hated Gandhi family. The community has shown what it thinks of Rajiv Gandhi in Ludhiana. Don't disrespect the sentiments of Sikhs," Badal tweeted.

If you @capt_amarinder have any 'dard' for the Sikh 'qaum' you would resign as CM and stand with the community to expose Gandhi family for authoring and engineering genocide of Sikhs in 1984. But it seems you are made of stone. No amount of suffering of the community moves you," Badal said.

"It would have been better if you @capt_amarinder as a true Sikh & Punjab CM had condemned the Gandhi family and demanded expulsion of #1984SikhGenocide culprits Sajjan Kumar & Kamal Nath fr

Congress Sewa Dal activists later blackened the faces of SAD president Sukhbir Badal and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on posters in Ludhiana in retaliation against the statute vandalization. They burnt posters of both Akali Dal leaders.

Amarinder reiterated that only a few Congress, BJP and RSS workers were involved in the violence against the Sikh community in 1984 and the judiciary was proceeding to act against them.

"Sajjan Kumar had already been sentenced to life and others involved in the perpetration of the riots would also face legal action," he added. 

"Had the Gandhis been involved in any way, they would have been named by at least some of the victims in the wake of the riots," he observed, adding that while he had personally visited the refugee camps to meet the victims, Sukhbir had packed his bags and left for the United States and was totally unaware of the developments at that time."

"The Akalis, in their frustration to seize political mileage, are taking law into their hands, which his government would not allow at any cost," the Chief Minister warned, adding he would not let the state's hard-earned peace be disturbed by anyone.

Punjab has a Congress government since March 2017, headed by Amarinder Singh.

(With inputs from IANS)

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