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Sikh News Manmohan Singh apologises for 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by drkhalsa, Aug 11, 2005.

  1. drkhalsa

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    Sep 16, 2004
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    Manmohan Singh apologises for 1984 anti-Sikh riots
    New Delhi, Aug. 11 (PTI): Seeking to assuage the sentiments of the Sikh community, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, today apologised for the 1984 anti-Sikh violence, saying he was not standing on any "false prestige" and bowed his head in shame.
    Describing the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as a "great national tragedy," he said "what happened subsequently was equally shameful."
    Intervening in a discussion on an Opposition-sponsored motion in the Rajya Sabha on the Nanavati Commission's report, the Prime Minister said he had seen statements by Opposition Leaders that he should seek forgiveness of the country.
    "I have no hesitation in apologising to the Sikh community. I apologise not only to the Sikh community but to the whole Indian nation because what took place in 1984 is the negation of the concept of nationhood enshrined in our Constitution," he said.
    The Prime Minister said "I am not standing on any false prestige. On behalf of our Government, on behalf of the entire people of this country I bow my head in shame that such a thing took place."
    Singh said he had accompanied Congress President Sonia Gandhi, to Harminder Sahib (Golden temple in Amritsar) some five or six years ago and "we together prayed that give us strength and show us the way that such things never again take place in our country."
    An emotional Singh said while one cannot rewrite the past "but as human beings we have the will power and we have the ability to write better future for all of us".
    The Prime Minister said 4,000 people were killed in the tragedy and it should be an occasion for introspection, how working together as a united nation, new pathways could be found to ensure that such ghastly tragedies never again take place.
    "I respectfully submit that this is not achieved by pursuing partisan goals, apportioning blame", he said.
    He charged the Opposition with trying to separate the Sikh community from the great traditions of the Congress party, but said he did want not to quarrel with anyone of them on this occasion.
    Pointing out that no Akali Dal members were present in the House, Singh said he did not want to score any point. "But, it is also a fact that when that glorious chapter in the history of Punjab was being written, the Akali Dal was busy dividing the people of Punjab on communal lines".
    "There were lapses in 1984. Several commissions have gone into this matter. We all know that we still do not know the truth, and the search must go on. This present commission is no exception to that", he said.
    Hitting back at the Opposition, Singh said the Nanavati report conclusively stated that "there is no evidence, whatsoever, against the top leadership of the Congress party. That lie, which has over the last 21 years been used to poison the minds of the Sikh youth, stands nailed conclusively".
    Referring to some individuals mentioned in the report, he said the commission has not come forward with conclusive conclusions. "These are in the realm of probabilities".
    "...whosoever figures in the Nanavati report -- and the commission has in its wisdom found it necessary to draw an adverse inference about their conduct or behaviour -- we will reopen those cases," he said.
    About some police officers against whom the ATR had made a mention, he said there was a normal rule that action could be taken against Government officers four years after retirement.
    "Many of them retired many, many years ago. But within the ambit of law, whatever action we can take, we will reopen those cases also if the law of the land permits that".
    "Our Government stands committed to do all that we can humanly do to go to the root of the problem, that all those individuals about whom the Commission has drawn adverse inferences, suggestions and recommendations, we will have a relook at them", he said.
    He also promised effective assistance to all the widows, children and the affected families so that they can lead a life of dignity and self-respect.
    The Prime Minister said the events of 1984 should be viewed from a wider perspective that the past cannot be brought back, cannot be undone.
    "But let us, as a united nation, find new pathways to ensure that our nation will never again go through such traumas, whether they are in Delhi or in Gujarat or in any part of the country", he said. Singh said "all of us should ask forgiveness of those who have suffered in this tragedy."
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