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Withdraw Rajiv Gandhi's Bharat Ratna: Delhi Assembly

Rajiv Gandhi

Image: Wikimedia commons

Withdraw Rajiv Gandhi's Bharat Ratna: Delhi Assembly

INDIA BLOOMS NEWS SERVICE | @indiablooms | 21 Dec 2018, 11:30 pm

New Delhi, Dec 21 (IBNS): The Delhi Assembly passed a resolution on Friday urging the Union government to withdraw former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's Bharat Ratna arguing that he had justified the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi, according to an Indian Express report. However, other media reported that the  resolution demanded the setting up of fast-track courts to deal with cases related to the anti-Sikh violence of 1984.

Rajiv was awarded the country's highest civilian award posthumously in 1991.

While Indian Express reported that the resolution was passed, an NDTV report said: "As news of the resolution to withdraw Mr Gandhi's award gave rise to protests, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) issued a clarification on the matter by pointing out that the portion related to the former prime minister cannot be taken into account because it was "handwritten".

"Lines about the late Rajiv Gandhi were not part of the resolution placed before the house and distributed among members. One MLA in his handwriting proposed an addition/amendment about the late Rajiv Gandhi. Amendments cannot be passed in this manner," tweeted AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj.

According to reports, the Delhi government should “strongly” convey in writing to the Union Home Ministry that justice continues to elude the families of the victims of the worst “genocide” in the history of India’s national capital, the resolution said.

AAP has 66 MLAs in the 70-member Delhi assembly. There are four BJP legislators.

Shortly after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination and the following riots, her son Rajiv Gandhi, the father of current Congress president Rahul Gandhi, had infamously said: "When a big tree falls, the earth shakes."

Earlier, the BJP had also demanded that Rajiv be stripped of the award for his statement.

Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was on Monday sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in the riots. He resigned from the party following his sentencing.

Supreme Court advocate H.S. Phoolka, who represented the 1984 victims' families in the case, had also said earlier that the Centre should withdraw Rajiv's Bharat Ratna as “he justified anti-Sikh 1984 riots,” and “such a PM doesn’t deserve to be given Bharat Ratna”.

The pogrom claimed at least 3,000 lives across the country.

The Congress party has maintained it had no role in the riots, but former prime minister Manmohan Singh had apologised for the same in Parliament in 2005.

Replying to an Opposition-backed motion demanding the Prime Minister seek forgiveness for the riots, Singh had said in the Rajya Sabha: “I have no hesitation in apologising to the Sikh community (for the 1984 carnage)”.

Withdraw Rajiv Gandhi's Bharat Ratna: Delhi Assembly

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