NEW DELHI -- On the day that Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi escalated the agitation against a "diabolical design" to spread hatred in the country under the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi evoked the memory of the bloodletting against Sikhs which unfolded in 1984.
Thousands of Sikhs were killed in the days following the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, while the Congress Party was in power.
"Today, is November 2. Remember the November 2 of 1984. Two or three days after Indira Gandhi died, Sikhs were killed. There were allegations against Congress leaders," Modi said at an election rally in Purnea, Bihar.
"Even today, the tears of those Sikhs have not been wiped," he said. "Doob maro (drown in shame)."
Paying tribute to the unfortunate tradition, which plays out on the days that mark the worst episodes of religious violence, leaders of the Congress Party and the BJP indulged in a blame game over the 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots and the 2002 Gujarat Riots in which the majority of those killed were Muslims.
"Today, the prime minister raised the 1984 Riots only for political reasons," Congress Party leader Anand Sharma told the media.
Escalating her attack against the Modi government, Gandhi is expected to lead a march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan today to hold a discussion on "rising intolerance" with President Pranab Mukherjee.
Speaking at a public function over the weekend, Gandhi said she will fight against a "diabolical design" to divide people and spread hatred in the country. "The hate, violence and petty mindedness is being unleashed as part of a pre-determined plan. We will not allow such a diabolical design to succeed," she said.
In a Facebook post published on Sunday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that Modi "has been the worst victim of ideological intolerance."
"While the Government led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is trying to accelerate India’s growth, there are many who have never intellectually accepted the idea of the BJP being in power. This obviously includes the Congress, many left thinkers and activists. Over decades they have practiced ideological intolerance towards BJP. Since 2002, the Prime Minister himself has been the worst victim of ideological intolerance."
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