The Akali Dal has accused MNath of participating in the riots outside Gurdwara Rakabganj in New Delhi.
New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath will face a fresh inquiry for his alleged involvement in the 1984 riots against Sikhs in the aftermath of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination in New Delhi. The Union home ministry has cleared a proposal to reopen the anti-Sikh riot cases against Mr Nath.
It is reliably learnt that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has opened a case against the Madhya Pradesh CM. The SIT is likely to consider fresh evidence against the veteran Congress leader.
Reacting to this, Akali Dal leader Manjinder S. Sirsa said it was “a big victory” against Mr Nath, who was said to be involved in the 1984 Sikh genocide. In a tweet, he said: “A big victory for @Akali_Dal_ SIT Opens case against @OfficeOfKNath for his alleged involvement in 1984 Sikh genocide... Notification issued by MHA upon my submission last year. Case number 601/84 to reopen & consider fresh evidence against Kamal Nath.”
Mr Sirsa said two witnesses were ready to depose against the Congress leader. He said: “We talked to them today, they have agreed to depose before the SIT whenever they are called. We talked to the SIT today, they said they will give us a specific date.” He also demanded security for the two witnesses.
The Akali Dal has accused Mr Nath of participating in the riots outside Gurdwara Rakabganj in New Delhi. Mr Sirsa urged Congress president Sonia Gandhi to seek the resignation of Mr Kamal Nath so that Sikhs get justice for the 1984 riots. “We demand that Congress president immediately take the resignation of Kamal Nath and oust him from his post so that Sikhs get justice.”
The home ministry’s decision on a fresh inquiry came days after the arrest of Mr Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri in connection with the AgustaWestland helicopter scam case. Last month, senior Congress leader and former Union minister P. Chidambaram was also arrested by the CBI over the INX Media money-laundering case.
Mr Kamal Nath has always denied playing any role in the 1984 riots. The matter came up when he was named as the state’s chief minister by the Congress, and protests erupted in both Madhya Pradesh and Punjab on the day that he took the oath.
Mr Nath, along with the party’s Delhi leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, were accused of instigating crowds in 1984 after Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her own bodyguards. “Very soon he (Kamal Nath) will be arrested and face the same fate as Sajjan Kumar,” the Akali leader said. Three-time Congress MP Sajjan Kumar is serving a life sentence for his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Witnesses had alleged Mr Nath had led a mob outside central Delhi’s Gurdwara Rakabganj and that two Sikhs were killed in his presence. Mr Nath was, however, given the benefit of doubt by the Nanavati Commission, which had investigated the matter.
The commission had heard testimonies from two people, including a then reporter of a national daily, Sanjay Suri, which established Mr Nath was present at the spot. Admitting that he was present, Mr Nath had said he was trying to calm the mob down.
Last year, the Delhi high court had upheld the conviction of 88 people in connection with the riots. Calling it a “landmark judgment”, senior lawyer H.S. Phulka said the court has criticised the fact that despite the recovery of 95 bodies, none of the accused had been charged with murder.
The court’s decision came two years after the Centre decided to set up a SIT to probe the 220-plus closed cases in the 1984 riots, which former home minister Rajnath Singh had described as “genocide”.