GOVERNMENT ORGANISED CARNAGE [Sarkari Qatl-e-Aam]
THE ROLE OF THE CONGRESS (I) PARTY
The Congress Party leaders, workers and supporters, as is evident from the testimony of hundreds of the victims’ families, played the most decisive role in both planning and organising the anti-Sikh violence. And, not just the affected people but also their Hindu neighbours have confirmed the vicious role of the Congress party in the massacre. In Mongolpuri, Ananad Parvat, Prakash Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Trilokpuri, Munirka, Kidwai Nagar, witness after witness has confirmed the role of the Congress party workers and leaders in the killings. People who have been specifically named as having directed the violence or having directed the violence or having participated in it include, Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tokas, HKL Bhagat (all ruling party MPS then), Arjun Das Ishwar Singh, Mahendra, Mangatam, Bhairav and Satbir Singh, to name a few prominent ones.
Attempts have been made to project the allegations levelled by the affected people against the Congress party as politically motivated. The charge does not however hold water because majority of the Sikh families here were supporters of the Congress party. The shocked Sikh families of Trilokpuri and Mongolpuri, among the worst-affected colonies (set up under the Indira Gandhi Urbanisation Programme as mentioned earlier), could not believe that they had been made the targets of violence following the assassination of a prime minister who commanded their support and loyalty. These houses were given to us by Indira ji, we always voted her party. Why were we attacked? several people asked us during the survey.
Other indications about the role of the Congress party members mentioned above and in the earlier chapters. Include the fact that, many of them tried to use their political clout in order to secure the release of those arrested for the violence.
According to an Indian Express report (November 6, 1984), Congress M.P. Dhram Das Shastry went to lodge a complaint in the Karol Bagh police station against some cops for misbehaving with his party supporters, with whom the police had found some of the loot taken away during the violence . At the same time H K L Bhagat was trying to secure the release of some of his supporters at the Gandhi Nagar police station.
According to a top source in the police, some of Congress party members were told by the police to help it raid the houses of people known to them to recover the loot as a quid-pro-quo for the release of their workers arrested on charges of violence. Besides, they will have to stand as witnesses, they were told. At this, the Congress member chickened out and gave up trying to free their workers from judicial custody.
There are examples galore of how even the Sikhs loyal to Congress were not spared. Sikh Congress MP Charanjeet Singh’s soft drink factory was burnt down, costing him a loss of one crore. Mr. Singh later said that he had contacted the Lt. Governor and the Police Chief several times to seek their help but no help was given to him.
Sajjan Kumar has alleged a political design behind the naming of his party men in the testimonies of witnesses and also accused the RSS of being involved in the violence. But, he has not been able to point an accusing finger at any one of the RSS members.
There are also reports that some senior Congress members and officials gave instructions to the police to deal softly with those arrested after November 3 for their involvement in the violence.
The police is even reported to have announced amnesty for those who would surrender the property looted from Sikhs. No action would be taken against such people, they were told, in what must be a unique way of handling criminals. The police have not denied making such an offer to the criminals and in the absence of a denial, it can be presumed that some influential people had planned this unique scheme to suit their vested interests.
Another pointer to the role of the Congress party in the carnage is evident from the fact that none of the leaders, neither those alleged to have engineered the violence nor any other, has expressed the confidence to face a court of inquiry into the allegations levelled against them. The best way for them to clear their names, if the charges are as false as they claim, is to face a judicial enquiry. When a delegation led by the former prime minister, Mr Chran Singh met Mr. Rajiv Gandhi and drew his attention to the reports in the Indian Express about the Congress MPs trying to get their supporters released from custody, Mr. Gandhi’s answer was, just as National Herald daily belongs to the Congress party, the Express is the Opposition’s newspaper implying, thereby, that the report need not be taken seriously. It was only the following day that the Congress spokesman denied the report.
Regardless of what appeared in the newspapers, it would be naïve to presume that Mr. Gandhi, who had been general secretary of his party since 1982, was not aware of what his partymen could be doing during the five days of anti-Sikh violence. Mr Gandhi was even instrumental in training party workers at various camps held for the purpose during his tenure as the party’s general secretary. What kind of political training did he give them that the Congress workers turned out to be so thirsty for the blood of Sikhs?