Amid anti-Congress protests following the conviction of Sajjan Kumar in the 1984-anti-Sikh riots case, a group of Sikh protesters on Wednesday defaced an MCD signboard bearing the name of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi at Rajiv Chowk Metro station in Connaught Place, New Delhi. The video showing the protesters, including women, spraying black ink on the signboard and blaming Rajiv Gandhi for 1984 anti-Sikh riots has gone viral on social networking sites. Their demands include the renaming of Rajiv Chowk Metro station after Indian freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh. The act was carried out in broad daylight this morning.
Speaking to news agency ANI, one of the protesters said, "A prime minister represents all communities, be it Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs. We demand that considering Rajiv Gandhi's role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Bharat Ratna award must be taken away from him and should be conferred on Shaheed Bhagat Singh".
Earlier on Tuesday, in a separate incident, a group of Youth Akali Dal workers vandalised a statue of Rajiv Gandhi at the Salem Tabri area in Ludhiana, Punjab. The incident also triggered strong protests by Congress supporters at various places across the state. The protesters threw black paint on posters of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Strongly condemning the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh demanded an apology from Sukhbir Singh Badal and asked him to stop indulging in petty politics, warning him that such acts would backfire on his party in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) stepped up attack on the Gandhi family after the conviction of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar. The Delhi High Court on December 17, convicted the former Lok Sabha member in connection to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, sentencing him to life imprisonment.
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots, or what the Sikh community calls genocide, erupted in India with thousands of Sikhs being killed following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31.
Since then, several political parties, including the Sikh Community people have been critical of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and accusing him of ‘justifying’ the killing of innocent Sikhs in the 1984 riots.
In an apparent reference to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots the former prime minister said, "when a big tree falls, the earth shakes". Gandhi delivered the speech on Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary at Boat Club in 1984.