Members of the Indian National Congress have been on a rant for months now about the rising intolerance all over the country, accusing the NDA government of not doing enough to stem the flow of hate against various minority communities. They further added that it was the Modi Government that propagated the anti-beef campaign directed at Muslims and that this intolerance needs to stop. On the anniversary of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally spoke out in public and accused the Congress of hypocrisy. He further added that the Indian National Congress had no moral ground to blame the current government of not defending the values of tolerance after many of its leaders were involved in the carnage against the Sikh community. Modi reminded the common people of Indira Gandhi’s assassination as one against a number of Sikhs murdered in Delhi and neighbouring areas calling it a dark patch in our history. Modi, who delivered his speech in the Seemachal area of Purnea, on account of the current Bihar elections, termed Congress’s rant as “Dramebaazi” (pretentious inhibitions).
The speech from the Prime Minister came in just after President of the Indian National Congress addressed the media in the national capital, stating her concern for the anti-secular vendetta allegedly initiated by the Modi Government. On this sad anniversary, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also took some time out at the Tilak Vihar area in Delhi paying homage to the deceased. The Chief Minister later spoke to the media adding that the 1984 riots were a blot on our history and added that if the culprits for the riots then were rightfully captured and punished, it would create a strong example. Proper judicial action against the perpetrators would have made sure that the Gujarat riots and the Dadri lynching did not happen at all, saving many innocent lives. The Kejriwal government also distributed cheques worth Rs 5 lakhs to many Sikh families whose sole bread earners were silenced during the riot. Kejriwal further added that even young children in Delhi were aware of who were the real perpetrators of the genocide in 1984, and hence ,the courts would have definitely known about the same. He further blamed past Congress and BJP Governments at both the State and Centre of inaction. Unlike past governments, the current ruling dispensation in Delhi has already begun its investigations against these powerful culprits, Kejriwal said.
Suffice to say, it is naïve to believe that future riots wouldn’t have occurred had those guilty of killing and plundering in the 1984 riots had been punished. Each riot, of course, occurs under very different circumstances. Nonetheless, there is a grain of truth in Kejriwal’s words. One government-appointed commission after another were set up to investigate the riots. However, as is the nature of most commissions, nothing concrete really came out of them. Those who had suffered at the hands of the perpetrators backed by the then Congress administration have not received an iota of justice. The lack of justice has what not only set a precedent for future state-sponsored riots, but also the inane discourse that takes place today on the administration’s role in maintaining communal harmony.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal also spoke about the rising intolerance over religious differences. He said that the levels at which people were reacting over disparity created by political leaders are alarming. India is only on its way down if matters continue to proceed at this rate. Suffice to say, such a view has been echoed by both RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan. Religious intolerance has indeed been a cause for death and despair in the past. The history of our country is enough for people to realise that such a disparity isn’t the best way to proceed. An early exit from such religious irregularities has become the need of the hour today.