[India], May 10 (ANI): Congress on Friday issued a statement distancing itself from comments on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots made by its Indian Overseas Congress Chief Sam Pitroda asserting that justice must be given to victims of both 1984 and 2002 riots. The party also cautioned its leaders to be more careful and sensitive.
"Any opinion or remark made by any individual to the contrary including Sam Pitroda is not the opinion of the Congress party," the party said in a statement today.
Stating that the party and its leadership have strived to ensure justice for the 1984 riot victims, Congress said, "We continue to support the quest for justice and stern punishment for those found guilty in 1984 riots as also the subsequent acts of violence including the 2002 Gujarat riots,".
"Congress party believes that justice should be done to 1984 riots victims as also to 2002 Gujarat riots victims. We abhor violence of any kind, against any person or a group of people based on their caste, colour, region or religion. This is the essence of India," the party said.Earlier in the day, Pitroda had clarified his remark while hitting out at BJP for "twisting his words and distorting facts" to "hide their failures".
Pitroda on Thursday, when asked about BJP's claim that instructions to "kill" in 1984 had come from late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, had said, "It (riots) happened in 1984, so what?"
Congress today also cornered the BJP on fielding "terror accused" in an apparent reference to the rival party's Bhopal candidate Pragya Thakur.
"Unlike the BJP, which has decided to field a candidate charged with terror crimes and is being lauded as its face by none less than Narendra Modi himself, Congress party has shown the moral and political courage to punish people and leaders accused of violence or role in 1984."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday had stepped up his attack on the Congress on the anti-Sikh riots issue, saying the views of Indian Overseas Congress chief Sam Pitroda reflects the party's mindset from the beginning and because of this "arrogance" people will push it below 44 seats in the Lok Sabha.
On Thursday, BJP, citing the Nanavati Commission report, had said "instructions to kill" came directly from the office of the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi.
"It's on record of Nanavati Commission that probed the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the biggest genocide of India in which the government killed its own citizens, that instructions to kill came directly from the then PM Rajiv Gandhi's office. The country awaits justice for this karma," the party had tweeted from its official handle.
In response to this, Pitroda, while rubbishing the allegations, had said, "I don't think so, this is also another lie, and what about 1984? You speak about what you have done in five years. It happened in 1984, so what? (1984 hua toh hua). What have you done? (Ab kya hai '84 ka? Aapne kya kiya 5 saal mein, uski baat kariye. '84 mein hua to hua. Aapne kya kiya?)"
"You were voted to create jobs. You were voted to create 200 smart cities. You have not even done that. You have not done anything that is why you keep talking here and there," he added. (ANI)