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Congress, Tytler and the besieged Sikhs

By: V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.
Apr-15-2009
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On the 28 March, 2009, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed its final investigation report before a Delhi Court in the famous 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots Case allegedly involving former Union Minister Jagdish Tytler.

Tytler was accused by the Nanavati Commission, which probed the 1984 riots as having a "very probable" hand in organising attacks on Sikhs. In a politically dramatic manner, the investigating agency submitted its report in a sealed envelope before the Metropolitan Magistrate Ram Lal Meena. The investigating agency in 2007 too had asked the court for permission to close the case arguing that it did not have sufficient evidence to proceed. However, the court had rejected the CBI plea. During the proceeding, the CBI said that it had completed its investigation relating to Tytler"s alleged role in the case of inciting a mob to attack a group of Sikhs in New Delhi 1984 and was submitting the concerned report before the Court. The CBI has given a clean chit to Jagdish Tytler. The fact of the matter is that the UPA Government has "politically closed" the case against former Union Minister Jagdish Tytler after a period of 25 years. Concurrently and parallely, the Congress Party has announced the name of Jagdish Tytler as one of its candidates for the Lok Sabha Elections from the Union Territory of Delhi. Thus the disgraceful tripod of partisan political governance, openly Congress-oriented if not Congress-promoting CBI investigative process and, above all the clinchingly blatant Congress Party interference from the top has now been planted firmly on the ground with less than two weeks to go for the Lok Sabha Elections, 2009. The dismal professional record of the CBI during the last 30 years and its exemplary political record (!!) as a hired mouthpiece and hatchet of the political party (the Congress party for more than 50 years!) in power in New Delhi have all become solidly established facts in the public mind.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has consistently argued during the last 15 years that the Congress has misused the CBI. The BJP has accused the Congress of backing and helping former central minister Jagdish Tytler in getting a clean-chit from the CBI in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot case. The BJP"s Spokesman Prakash Javadekar has said: "The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has turned into "CONGRESS BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION". The CBI has furthered Congress"s political agenda by giving a clean-chit to Jagdish Tytler. We have not seen such a misuse of CBI till date. They had earlier given clean-chits to Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav and now they have given to Jagdish Tytler also. Giving a clean-chit to Tytler is like rubbing salt on the wounds of riot victims. We reject CBI"s clean-chit and now it is for the people to decide."

H S Phoolka, Lawyer for 1984 Riots Victims has alleged: "This shows the loophole in the investigations by the CBI. The day his candidacy for the Lok Sabha was announced it was obvious that the CBI was going to give him a clean chit."

Greatly agitated over CBI"s clean chit to Tytler, leaders of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) protested in front of AICC head quarters as well as in front of Sonia Gandhi"s residence. They were later detained by the police after their protest turned violent in the national capital. SAD leaders Onkar Singh Thapar, Manjeet Singh GK and Avtar Singh Hit were among those who were detained in the Tughlaq Road police station. The demonstrators burnt effigies of Tytler and Sajjan Kumar in front of the AICC headquarters and raised slogans against Congress for nominating them for Lok Sabha seats in Delhi. They alleged that the two Congress leaders were involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and their nomination should be withdrawn to respect the sentiments of Sikh community. The police had to resort to water canon to prevent the protesters from entering the Congress headquarters. Thapar charged that by giving tickets to them, Congress has ignored suffering the Sikh community underwent during the riots when several people were killed and left homeless. Mohan Singh, President of the All India Riots Victim Society, has said: "Sikh community considers Congress as a secular party but the nomination of Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler has deeply hurt them."

The Sikh community in Punjab has voiced its great disappointment over the Central Bureau of Investigation"s (CBI) clean chit to Congress leader Jagdish Tytler. Upset over this development, former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and AICC Member Bir Devinder Singh, has resigned from the Congress Party. In his letter to AICC president Sonia Gandhi, Bir Devinder Singh has not only blamed her for committing the gravest error of fielding Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar and ignoring Sikh sentiments, but also of not adhering to the basic postulates of secularism. I am of the view that the CBI investigations were monitored and doctored by Jagdish Tytler with Sonia"s full knowledge. As such the CBI has done great harm to the cause of Sikhs. Congress again has rubbed salt on the wounds... I am deeply hurt, especially the role of the Congress party, and my conscience does not permit me to stay in the Congress."

The Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs, too has condemned the clean chit to Tytler. SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar told the press in Amritsar: "The anti-Sikh attitude of the Congress has again been exposed. It has become clear that the CBI works in tandem with the Congress". Radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa have also condemned the CBI move to favour Tytler. Dal Khalsa leader Kanwarpal Singh has said: "This is shocking. It clearly shows that laws for one community in India are different from those compared to the minorities".

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and Akali Dal President Sukhbir Badal said that if the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, of which the ruling Akali Dal is a partner, is voted to power, the cases against Tytler and other leaders who led the anti-Sikh riots would be re-opened and re-investigated in the larger interest of equity and natural justice.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has declared: "The clean chit given to Tytler by the CBI only means a clean chit to all killers of thousands of innocent Sikhs, whom the Congress has decorated with party tickets for the parliamentary elections. I suggest that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should intervene even at this late stage to ensure that the CBI is not allowed to be used as a tool to shield the killers of thousands of innocent men, women and children. The PM"s silence at this hour could prove a historic failure to discharge his basic constitutional responsibility. I view the giving of a clean chit to Jagdish Tytler as a shocking outrage against humanity-against all norms of civilized society, jurisprudence and natural justice. In my view, the innocent victims are being killed a second time through this denial of justice even a quarter of a century after the crime took place".

The embarrassed Punjab PCC acting President Mohinder Singh Kaypee has said that "the allocation of party ticket to Tytler and Sajjan Kumar is a serious matter and that it cannot be discussed in the open. I am going to tell the High Command about the wounded Punjabi sentiments on this issue."

Thus the embers of the great anti-Sikh riots and conflagration planned, organized and launched in New Delhi in which more than 3000 innocent Sikhs were killed in a matter of two days after the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on 31 October, 1984 are refusing to die down even 25 years after the barbarous massacre.

The Congress record of perfidy against the noble, selfless, and heroic Sikh Community after Independence is a dark chapter in modern Indian history. When the Sikhs under the leadership of Master Tara Singh demanded greater autonomy for the Sikhs after independence, Jawaharlal Nehru tried to weaken the Sikh community by merging PEPSU with other areas (today"s Haryana and parts of Himachal Pradesh) to create the larger State of Punjab. The government also declared that Punjab was a bilingual State with both Punjabi and Hindi being designated as official languages. In the merged state, Sikhs made up only 35 per cent of the population and thus lost the majority status they had held in PEPSU. This unilateral action wounded the feelings and sentiments of many Sikhs at that time.

I am mentioning this only to show that Jawaharlal Nehru and his Congress Party have always treated the Sikhs and the Hindus after our independence with indivisible contempt bordering on political hatred. On the contrary they treated the so called minorities, more particularly the Muslims, with unrequited romantic love and infatuation. Today State-sponsored secularism and State-abetted terrorism have become two sides of the same political coin. Likewise, State-abetted proselytism and Church-sponsored harvesting of heathen souls have become two sides of another political coin. Consequently, the Sikhs and the Hindus have been reduced to the status of KAFIRS by the UPA Government today as in the dark days of Aurangazeb.

Just as an eye wash to cover up the atrocities of Congressmen against the Sikhs, the Congress Government kept on appointing 8 Enquiry Commissions from time to time between 1984 and 1993: Marwah Commission (1984) Dhillon Committee (1985) Misra Commission of Enquiry (1985) Kapur Mittal Committee (1987) Jain Banerjee Committee (1987) Ahuja Committee (1987) Potti Rosha Committee (1990) and Narula Committee (1993). The NDA Government appointed "The Nanavati Commission (2004)" which gave its report in February 2004. This commission indicted Tytler and Sajjan Kumar and the Police Commissioner Tandon. Now the whole artificial drama has been closed by the CBI.


V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.

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