NEW DELHI: The Congress was in a soup after a video showing former prime minister Manmohan Singh sharing dais with 1984 anti-Sikh riots case accused Sajjan Kumar went viral on social media.
According to sources, the former prime minister and Sajjan Kumar, along with several other leaders, attended a meeting of the newly-constituted Delhi state unit.
The 1984 riots have been a constant embarrassment to the Congress though Manmohan Singh, a Sikh, had apologised for the riots as prime minister in 2005. Four years later, the Congress again faced flak when it decided to field Sajjan Kumar and another accused Jagdish Tytler, as party nominees from Delhi for the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. However, fearing loss of Sikh votes in Delhi and Punjab, the Congress quickly withdrew their candidature.
Recently, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi faced some difficult questions on the riots during an interaction in the US and said he was sympathetic to those fighting for justice in the case.
Red-faced over latest controversy, party sources said Sajjan was not seated on the dais but only reached there to greet Singh after two resolutions were passed by the DPCC. One of the resolutions urged Rahul to take over as party chief at the earliest while the other authorised Sonia Gandhi to appoint a new state unit chief.
“I did not see him on the dais,” senior party leader JP Agarwal, who sat close to Singh said.
AICC in charge of Delhi PC Chacko downplayed the controversy saying there was nothing wrong as all the state unit leaders were present at the meeting.
As many as 3000 Sikhs were killed in the riots, mostly in Delhi, soon after then prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh security bodyguards on October 31, 1984. Kumar was an accused in the riots and was acquitted by a Delhi court in a related case in 2013. Later, 2016 he got anticipatory bail in another case in which he was accused of instigating the mob to kill two Sikhs, Sohan Singh and his son Avtar Singh, in west Delhi’s Janakpuri on November 1, 1984.