Dr.Avnish Jolly , Chandigarh April 11 – The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today described as "shocking beyond belief" Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s admission that he had no prior knowledge of Mr. Jagdish Tytler and Mr. Sajjan Kumar being given party tickets for the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
"It is unbelievable that the Prime Minster of the country was kept in the dark about a sensitive political decision having a direct bearing on the sentiments of his community. If Dr. Manmohan Singh was not consulted by the Congress High Command before giving Lok Sabha tickets to Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, whose involvement in the 1984 massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs has been proved beyond doubt by judicial commissions, what good is it to the community to have a Sikh as a Prime Minister of the country? " asked Mr. Badal.
In a statement here, the Chief Minister, however, said that the revelations made by the Prime Minister yesterday about his party taking this decision on the sly had not come as a surprise to those who knew how the Congress had always treated Sikh leaders in its ranks. "Everybody recalls how even the then President Giani Zail Singh was kept in the dark about the late Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s decision on Operation Blue Star in June 1984 and subsequently about the events that unfolded during the massacre following Mrs. Gandhi’s assassination. What is surprising is that no Congress Sikh has ever shown the courage and self-respect to object to such humiliating treatment given to them by their party bosses."
Referring to the withdrawal of Congress tickets to the main accused in the ’84 massacre, Mr. Badal wondered why the Punjab Congress leaders were trying to paint it as a favour done to the Sikh community. The real issue, he said, is not the withdrawal of tickets but exemplary punishment to the guilty. "If this decision (to withdraw tickets) indeed shows the Congress concern for Sikh sentiments, may one ask why the tickets were given to the guilty in the first place? Besides, they had not only been allotted the Congress tickets continuously since 1984 but were even rewarded with plumb portfolios in the Union Cabinet. Is anyone in the Congress apologizing for that?" said Mr. Badal, asking the Punjab Sikh Congress leaders to stop cringing before their masters in Delhi at least on matters which involve the dignity and respect of their community. "Instead, they should go and seek an answer from their High Command as to why the CBI was made to give a clean chit to those widely believed to be killers of innocents."