1984 riots: Rajiv Gandhi did not take calls from Zail Singh, claims aide

rajiv-zail-singhTarlochan Singh, press secretary of former president Giani Zail Singh, has contradicted Rahul Gandhi’s claim that the Congress government had tried to stop the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Congress vice-president and party’s face for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections had asserted that unlike Narendra Modi whose government had pushed the riots in 2002 in Gujarat, the Congress government in 1984 had tried to do everything to stop rioting against Sikhs following the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Tarlochan Singh said that the 1984 riots were in fact “orchestrated and sponsored”.

According to him, Rajiv Gandhi who took over as PM following the death of Indira Gandhi, even refused to take calls from the then president Giani Zail Singh when the latter tried to speak to him to discuss the situation.

Singh, who has served as vice-chairman of the National Commission for Minorities from 2000 to 2003, further alleged that unlike the 1984 communal strife, the 2002 Gujarat riots were “spontaneous”.

The Gujarat police did everything to stop rioting, Singh said, adding the same is evident from the fact that 137 rioters were killed in police firing.

In Delhi, only one rioter was killed in police firing in 1984.

It may here be noted that Singh served as the NCM chairman when the NDA was in power at the Centre. Later, he entered the Rajya Sabha from Haryana in 2004 with support from the BJP and INLD.