New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that Inder Kumar Gujral's advice to then Home Minister Narsimha Rao would have prevented the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, if the latter had heard and acted over it.
Speaking at an event organised to remember former Prime Minister IK Gujral on his 100th birth anniversary, Singh said, "When the sad event of 1984 took place, Gujral ji that very evening went to the then Home Minister Narsimha Rao and said to him that the situation is so grim that it is necessary for the government to call the army at the earliest. If that advice would have been heeded perhaps the massacre that took place in 1984 could have been avoided.”
Singh also spoke as to how his relationship with the former prime minister grew, post the Emergency period.
"He was the minister of information and broadcasting and he had problems with some aspects of the management of the Emergency and then he was removed and shifted to the Planning Commission as minister of state. I was then an economic advisor with the ministry of finance... Thereafter our relationship grew", Singh added.
Gujral was the 12th prime minister of India between April 1997 and March 1998 and propounded the 'Gujral Doctrine' of five principles for maintaining good relations with India's neighbours.
One of his most prominent stints included his role as the minister of information and broadcasting in June 1975 when then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency in the country.
He was then made Ambassador to the erstwhile United States of Soviet Republics from 1976 to 1980 following his refusal to censor the news bulletins and editorials.
Gujral died due to multiple organ failure on November 30, 2012, aged 92, just four days short of his 93rd birthday.