1984 riots: Amrinder, Jaitley spar over Tytler issue

Nearly a week ahead of the general poll in Amritsar on 30 April, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Arun Jaitley, while gearing up for the last lap, rakes up the issue of 1984 riot and questioned his rival Why has Captain Amarinder Singh become the ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and decided to offer a clean chit to Jagdish Tytler?

Jaitley said, ‘1984 will always go down as the year of bad memories. The massacre of innocent Sikhs following the assassination of Indira Gandhi remains a black spot on Indian democracy. The fact that the innocents can be killed in thousands is terrible. What is worse is that the guilty went unpunished.’

Dismayed over the role of the Congress party in the post riot situation, he said, ‘None of the rioters were fired upon by the police. They were given a safe passage to loot and kill. For years, the FIRs were not registered. No arrests were made. The violence was politically rationalised by the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.’

While claiming that that Justice Ranganath Mishra’s Commission, appointed by the Congress government, was nothing but a cover up for the state sponsored violence, the BJP candidate from Amritsar said, ‘After his retirement, this judge was rewarded with the Rajya Sabha nomination by the Congress Party.’

‘Now it is for the investigating and judicial process to find out the truth. Is he trying to prejudge the guilt of a person who is perceived to be involved in the riots? Is his personal and political relationship more important to the Captain than the interest of the victims?’ he said.

Jaitley clarified about the allegation levelled against him by Amarinder in connection with the Bhopal gas tragedy, saying, ‘The Captain has charged me for appearing for Dow Jones against the Bhopal gas victims. Dow Jones has nothing to do with either the Union Carbide or Bhopal gas tragedy. It is a leading American financial company, which incidentally owns the Wall Street Journal.’

He further said, ‘The name of the lawyer who appeared against Bhopal gas victims is Abhishek Manu 
Singhvi, who is the chief spokesperson of Captain Amarinder Singh’s political party. I have advised and appeared for thousands of clients as a part of my professional commitment. If persons or a company not involved in the tragedy, wanted to have the benefit of my advice, it is my professional ethics as a lawyer to give them the correct legal advice. This is what I have done.’

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