M A I N   N E W S

NDA to launch nationwide protest
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
Lashing out at the action taken report (ATR) on the Nanavati Commission’s findings as a “white wash report”, the Bharatiya Janata Party today said the NDA leaders would soon meet the President and demand action against the accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will organise a nationwide protest against the government’s ATR on the report, which probed the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in which about 4,000 Sikhs were killed across the country. The decision was taken at a NDA meeting chaired by BJP President L.K. Advani this morning.

Later briefing newspersons at a meeting, BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said it was also decided that an NDA delegation would call on President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to express its shock over the exoneration of all accused in the riots that followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

“The NDA would seek an appointment with the President after studying the full text of the ATR on the Nanavati Commission recommendations,’’ he said.

Prof Malhotra said more than 3,000 Sikhs were butchered in the capital alone and it was a ‘well-known fact’ that Congress leaders and supporters were leading the mobs.

“It is more shocking and surprising that the ATR has got the seal of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who chaired the Cabinet meeting to consider the Nanavati Report,” Mr Malhotra said.

He said when the riots were on, the then President Gyani Zail Singh had expressed his helplessness to do anything as he felt his intervention could further aggravate the situation. “But what compelled Dr Manmohan Singh to absolve everybody is intriguing,” he said.

“The report had added salt to the wounds of the families of the victims,” he said, alleging that the police had remained “mute spectators” while the then Congress government had not mobilised the Army or taken any step to quell the rioters, pointing to its complicity in the riots.

Meanwhile, the National Democratic Alliance has decided to organise a nationwide protest on the issue, Prof Malhotra said.

“ATR is actually a white wash report in which an attempt has been made to save all accused in the massacre. It has only served to rub salt on the wounds of the victims affected by the riots who were expecting justice”, Mr Malhotra said.

Mr Malhotra said a meeting of NDA leaders, chaired Mr Advani, earlier in the day today decided to study the ATR in detail after which a delegation would meet the President and demand action on the Commission’s recommendations.

“People occupying high positions, including judges and journalists, had deposed before the commission on oath. The riots were not spontaneous but carried out in a planned manner. Though over 4,000 people were killed in Delhi and outside, the government is refusing to take action”, Mr Malhotra said.

The BJP leader regretted that though 21 years have passed since the incident, not one person has been punished for the riots.

He wanted to know why the then Prime Minister and the Home Minister have been let off even though the incident had taken place “under their very nose”.

The BJP Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha said while about 200 people, mostly Hindus, were killed in police and Army firing during the Gujarat riots, not even lathi charge was made during the 1984 riots. “I am sorry and shocked”, he added.

Asked what would be NDA’s demand to the President, he said, “at least action should be taken on the ATR”.

NDA Convener George Fernandes, JD (U) leader Prabhunath Singh, BJD leader Braj Kishore Tripathy, SAD leader S S Dhindsa and BJP leader Jaswant Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Mr Malhotra were present at the NDA leaders’ meeting.

Asked about the Supreme Court’s criticism of the Gujarat Police for not arresting the accused in the Naroda Patiya case, he said, “it would be looked into”.

Meanwhile, BJP and NDA MPs are understood to have given over a dozen notices for discussion in the Lok Sabha on the report and ATR under Rule 193, party sources said.

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