A group of people who were affected during the 1984 anti-Sikh violence allegedly defaced a “Rajiv Chowk” signboard in central Delhi on Wednesday, and demanded that the area be renamed after revolutionary leader Bhagat Singh, PTI reported. Rajiv Chowk was earlier called Connaught Place.
The protestors chanted slogans against the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi after whom it was named, and sprayed black paint on the signboard, according to ANI. Protestors also hung garlands of shoes and slippers on the signboard, reported NDTV.
“A Prime Minister of India represents all communities, be it Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs,” an unnamed protestor told ANI. “We demand that considering Rajiv Gandhi’s role in 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Bharat Ratna award must be taken away from him, and should be conferred on Shaheed Bhagat Singh.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Delhi) Madhur Verma said a case of defacement of public property has been registered on the basis of a complaint filed by the New Delhi Municipal Council.
The defacing of the signboard comes a day after a Youth Akali Dal leader allegedly vandalised and defaced a statue of Rajiv Gandhi at a public park in Ludhiana. They also demanded that the Bharat Ratna conferred on him be taken back.
The demand to revoke Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna was also made during the discussion of a resolution moved in the Delhi Assembly last week. It was, however, not part of the original resolution introduced by Aam Aadmi Party MLA Jarnail Singh, and was not passed. The legislator who proposed the withdrawal of the honour accused Gandhi of justifying the riots in a public statement. Gandhi was posthumously given the honour in 1991.