Manmohan Singh, former prime minister of India, said on Wednesday that the 1984 anti-Sikh riots could have been avoided if PV Narasimha Rao, home minister at the time, would have acted on former prime minister IK Gujral’s advice.
Singh made the remarks at an event to mark Gujral’s 100th birth anniversary.
News18 quoted Singh as saying, “When the sad event of 1984 took place, Gujral ji on that very sad evening went to the then Home Minister PV Narasimha Rao and said to him that the situation is so grave that it is necessary for the government to call the army at the earliest. If that advice would have been heeded, perhaps the massacre that took place in 1984 could have been avoided.”
According to official reports more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in Delhi alone during the riots triggered after former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her bodyguards.
Several leaders of the Congress party such as Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler were convicted for their role in the riots. The Nanavati Commission, set up to probe the riots, had also accused Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath of encouraging rioters.
Rao later became prime minister and held office between 1991 and 1996. Gujral was prime minister for a year between 1997 and 1998.
NDTV quoted Singh as saying, “He was the minister of Information and Broadcasting and he had problems with some aspects of the management of emergency and then he was removed to the Planning Commission as minister of state. I was then an economic advisor with the ministry of finance... Thereafter our relationship grew.”