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1984 Riots Accused Jagdish Tytler Gets Front Row At Delhi Congress Event, Ignites Criticism

PRERNA YADAV | 0
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| January 16 , 2019 , 16:19 IST

Veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday took charge as the party's Delhi chief just months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The event held at the Congress office in Delhi had many dignitaries in attendance. 1984 riots-accused Jagdish Tytler, 74, was seen in the front rows, which provoked criticism that the Congress was "again rubbing salt into the wounds of Sikhs".

Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, an ally of the ruling BJP said, "Indira Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi to Rahul Gandhi, Tytler was their right-hand man. It is a clear signal to Sikhs of the country."

According to media reports, Tytler argues that the charges against him have not been proved when asked about the controversy "What can a man say when the Court has given a verdict. You also mention my name. Why? Is there an FIR? Is there a case? No? Then why do you take my name? Someone said that and you believed it."

Another leader of her Akali Dal, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, said the Congress deliberately had Tytler in the forefront to intimidate 1984 witnesses. "The Congress wants to send a message to the witnesses that the party high command supports Tytler and nobody should even try to testify against him," he said.

Tytler became a minister in the Manmohan Singh government in 2004 but had to quit as the 1984 riot allegations kept dogging him.

Jagdish Tytler is named to be one of the main accused of the anti-Sikh riots in the Nanavati Commission report into the immediate aftermath of the then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination on October 31, 1984.

The official report of the Nanavati Commission on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots found 'credible evidence' against the Congress, suggesting that he 'very probably' had a hand in organizing the massacre along with other Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and newly-appointed Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath. But due to lack of evidence against him, the government could not prosecute Tytler in the case.

The allegations came back to haunt the party after Sajjan Kumar was sentenced to life in jail in December by the Delhi High Court.