Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 100th birth anniversary of former prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral in New Delhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said that the Sikh massacre of 1984 in Delhi could have been avoided had the then Home Minister Narsimha Rao acted upon the former’s advice, reports India Today.
"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," Manmohan Singh said as per reports.
Ex-PM Manmohan Singh: When the sad event of '84 took place, IK Gujral ji went to the then HM PV Narasimha Rao&told him,situation is so grave that it's necessary for govt to call Army at the earliest. If that advice had been heeded perhaps '84 massacre could've been avoided.(4.12) pic.twitter.com/bQmnktnmem— ANI (@ANI) December 4, 2019
Following his statement, many social media users accused Singh of trying to shield Rajiv Gandhi who has been accused of having a role in the riots.
Many also questioned as to why did he agree to become a Finance Minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government if the latter was responsible for failing to stop the riots.
According to official records, about 2,800 Sikhs were killed across India, including 2,100 in Delhi, during the violence that broke out after former PM Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards.
Gujral, the 12th Prime Minister of India between April 1997 and March 1998, propounded the 'Gujral Doctrine' of five principles for maintaining good relations with India's neighbours.
Former President Dr Pranab Mukherjee was also present at the event who was reported saying that he regretted the then Congress high command's decision to withdraw support from IK Gujral-led United Front government in 1998. He added that the decision allowed BJP to come to power.