CHANDIGARH, February 7: Accusing the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of trying to make political capital out of a sensitive situation and blaming him for various acts of omission and commission before and after the Operation Bluestar, former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today said that he (Mr Badal) had simply run away from the situation and hid himself in his farm house in Bazpur, Uttar Pradesh, now in Uttrakhand and was now raking up the issue again for partisan gains.
He also asked Mr Badal as why so far he had not uttered a single word against the killing of 35,000 innocent people who died in Punjab during the dark days of terrorism. “Why such cold indifference towards those who were dragged out of buses and trains and mercilessly massacred?” he asked Mr Badal, while condemning him for trying to exploit the sentiments of common people on the eve of elections.
The senior Congress leader also questioned Mr Badal’s silence about the involvement of BJP and RSS workers and leaders in the anti-Sikh riots in 1984.
Asserting that Mr Badal had run away from the situation, Capt Amarinder disclosed that on May 26, 1984 a meeting was held at a Delhi Guest House where Mr Badal alongwith two of his colleagues met three central ministers. He said, while two of his colleagues left for Punjab immediately after the meeting, Mr Badal went into hiding and later it was revealed that he had hid himself in his Bazpur farm house in UP.
He said, on June 1, 1984 the police and CRPF cordoned off the Durbar Sahab. He asked Mr Badal as why he kept quiet about this development and why he did not return to Punjab to bravely face it despite the situation taking such a serious turn.
The former Chief Minister asked Mr Badal as why he failed to carry the commitment he had made, alongwith his other colleagues that they will physically confront the army if it entered the Darbar Sahib. “Is it not a fact that you alongwith your colleagues had taken an oath in front of Shri Akal Takhat Sahib that you will confront any military operation and will physically prevent the army from entering the Darbar Sahib even at the cost of your life”, he asked Mr Badal, while adding, “instead you ran away to Bazpur and hid yourself in a farm house only to emerge after everything was over”.
He disclosed that the Mr Badal had even refused to take the phone calls of the then BBC journalists Mark Tully and Satish Jacob, who can stand testimony to this fact.
Capt Amarinder told Mr Badal the way nobody can accuse his son Sukhbir, who at that time was a young man studying in a foreign university, for his acts of omission and commission, he cannot ask the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to apologise for Operation Bluestar as he was just 13 year old at that time.
“As regards the Congress people who Mr Rahul Gandhi in an open hearted manner said may have been involved in the Delhi riots and you have been insisting on their names to be provided I can give you the names as I was in Delhi from November 1 to 3 after riots broke out on the night of October 31, 1984 and visited all the refugees who had taken shelter in various Gurdwaras in Delhi”, he told Mr Badal adding, “the names I heard were HKL Bhagat, Dharam Dass Shastri, Arjun Dass, Lalit Maken and Sajjan Kumar”.
He said, while the first four are no longer in this world and are now accountable for their despicable acts before the Almighty, Sajjan Kumar’s trial is at its fag-end and everybody must wait for the court verdict.
“At the same time let me tell you I heard the names of several BJP and RSS leaders like Ram Kumar Jain, Pritam Singh, Ram Chander Gupta to name a few, who were involved in riots, but you have maintained a sheepish silence about their involvement just because they are you alliance partners and your survival is dependent on them”, Capt Amarinder told Mr Badal while referring to the role of BJP and RSS workers and leaders in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. He pointed out, 14 FIRs were registered against 49 BJP-RSS leaders for their role in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
The former Chief Minister said, he was very much disappointed that a leader like Mr Badal who has been the Chief Minister for five times should play with the sentiments of people when he was himself responsible for so many omissions and misdemeanours before and after Operation Bluestar.
Asserting that Mr Badal was in the habit of raking up the issue at the time of elections to promote himself, he said, he (Mr Badal) had always exploited the sentiments of innocent people and then shirked away from his responsibility. “In a most irresponsible and treasonable ways you asked the Sikhs in the army to mutiny and at your behest a number of Sikh soldiers mutinied and spent up to 18 years in jail”, he told Mr Badal, while asking, “can you identify even one person whom or whose family you helped while they were in jail or offered them any jobs after they came out?”
He said, Punjab was still bearing the brunt of those dark days for which Mr Badal was equally responsible and as a consequence of which the industry has moved out of the state and the situation now is such that state’s debt has touched Rs one lakh crores and the unemployment is all time high.
Capt Amarinder advised Mr Badal to introspect before seeking to blame others and for trying to make political capital out of situation from which Punjab has come out with lot of sacrifices and a long struggle.