The Delhi Assembly on Friday passed a resolution to demand the setting up of fast-track courts to deal with cases related to the anti-Sikh violence of 1984, The Hindu reported. One MLA also demanded an addition to the resolution that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi be stripped of the Bharat Ratna for his remarks that were seen as justifying the violence.
Over 2,700 Sikhs were killed in the violence in Delhi alone after two Sikh bodyguards assassinated Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. She was the prime minister then, and was succeeded by her son Rajiv Gandhi. Sajjan Kumar, a Congress leader, was sentenced to life earlier this month in a case related to the violence. He has reportedly quit the party since.
After the violence, Rajiv Gandhi had reportedly said at a public event: “For some days people felt India was shaking. But whenever a big tree falls, the earth does shake a little.” He got the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1991.
The demand to withdraw the honour was made by Aam Aadmi Party MLA Somnath Bharti during the discussion of a resolution moved by another MLA, Jarnail Singh, to demand that the Delhi government write to the Centre about the violence. The resolution called the violence a “genocide”, and sought that the Ministry of Home Affairs takes steps to include crimes against humanity and genocide in domestic criminal laws.
The resolution also demanded special fast track courts for cases related to the violence.
After the resolution was passed, the Congress called the Aam Aadmi Party the “B-Team” of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Rajiv Gandhi “sacrificed his life for the country”, but through the demand to withdraw his Bharat Ratna, “true colours of AAP have come out in the open”, said Congress Delhi leader Ajay Maken.
However, Somnath Bharti clarified on Twitter that although he had suggested the demand as an amendment to Jarnail Singh’s resolution, it was not put to vote. “Amendments are always put to vote separately, [and] unless passed, that can’t form part of passed resolution,” he said. “First I talked of this in my speech and then suggested this amendment, and party had no opportunity to see [the] same. I further clarify that amendment I proposed was not put to vote as an amendment and hence there is no question of passing the same.”