Punjab’s political mud-slinging: Akalis vandalize Rajiv Gandhi statue

Youth Akali Dal members spray black ink on Rajiv Gandhi's statute in Ludhiana on December 25, 2018. Photo: PTI

On the Christmas day a couple of workers of Punjab’s political outfit SAD (Shiromani Akali Dal) vandalized and blackened the statue of Rajiv Gandhi, India’s former Prime Minister at Ludhiana. Later on a few parliamentarians of Congress from Punjab reached the spot and cleaned the statue with water and milk.

The SAD was in power in Punjab till March 2017 when it was ousted by the grand old party Congress and Captain (retd.) Amarinder Singh took over. Rajiv Gandhi led the Congress government in India after he became country’s Prime Minister in 1984, immediately after the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi.

Condemning the incident the Capt. Amarinder Singh tweeted: “Strongly condemn vandalisation of Rajiv Gandhi’s statue by @Akali_Dal_ workers in Ludhiana. Have asked Police to identify the guilty & take strict action. @officeofssbadal should apologise to people of Punjab for this obnoxious act.”

In an official release Amarinder Singh asked Sukhbir Singh Badal, son of former Punjab Chief Minister Prakash singh Badal, to stop indulging in petty politics. The Chief Minister of Punjab also asked Sukhbir Badal to immediately apologise for the obnoxious act of his party workers.

Sukhbir Singh Badal remained defiant however. Supporting the action at Ludhiana, he tweeted: “You @capt_amarinder should apologise to the Sikh sangat for failing them as CM and standing with hated Gandhi family. The community has shown what it thinks of Rajiv Gandhi in Ludhiana. Don’t disrespect the sentiments of Sikhs.”

Sukhbir Singh further added,  “If you @capt_amarinder have any ‘dard’ (pain) for the Sikh ‘qaum’ you would resign as CM and stand with community to expose Gandhi family for authoring and engineering genocide of Sikhs in 1984. But it seems you are made of stone. No amount of suffering of the community moves you.”

Congress supporters in Ludhiana clean Rajiv Gandhi’s statue with milk after Youth Akali Dal members
blackened it on Christmas. Photo: PTI

Lashing out at the Akalis, Captain Amarinder Singh said in their desperation to win public support, which the Akalis had completely lost due to their criminal acts of commission and omission in the last ten years of SAD-BJP rule, the Badals and their supporters were stooping to abominable levels. They are well aware of the fact that the Gandhis were never named or implicated in the 1984 riots, yet they continued to drag the family into the case to further their own political agenda, said the Chief Minister. He added that former Congress politician Sajjan Kumar had already been sentenced to life term by the court and others involved in the perpetration of the riots would also face legal action.

Had the Gandhis been involved in any way, they would have been named by at least some of the victims in the wake of the riots, Amarinder Singh observed, adding that while he had personally visited the refugee camps to meet the victims, Sukhbir had packed his bags and left for the US and was thus totally unaware of the developments at that time.

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