Senior advocate H S Phoolka has claimed that instructions to kill Sikhs during the anti-Sikh riots came directly from Prima Minister’s office. The anti-Sikh riots had broken out after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and Rajiv Gandhi had taken charge as the next prime minister on the same day.
“There is enough evidence on record to show that in 1984 when the Sikhs were being killed, the instructions were coming directly from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Army was not called in… We have placed our evidence on record before the Nanavati Commission as well as Mishra Commission,” Harvinder Singh Phoolka told news agency ANI in Delhi today,
Talking about the scenario at the government when then riots were going on, Phooka narrated, “Shanti Bhushan was Law Minister during Morarji Desai government. Shanti Bhushanji has given his own affidavit before the Nanavati Commission. He says on November 1 morning he went to Narasimha Rao, who was Union Home Minister at that time and he asked Narasimha Rao to immediately call the Army as innocent citizens are being killed… Narasimha Rao agreed with him”.
“Narasimha Rao called on the RAX phone, which is a direct phone between the ministers. And he says Narasimha Rao tried to convince the other person on the line to call the Army. After some time, Narasimha Rao put down the phone and sat quietly. Shanti Bhushanji says he was there for about two-three minutes, Narasimha Rao didn’t say a word. So, Shanti Bhushanji said he got up and went away”, the senior advocate said.
Phoolka said former Prime Minister Charan Singh along with Devi Lal, Sharad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan had also asked the President to immediately call the Army. “So, the President wanted to call the Army, Home Minister wanted to call the Army, who is the one who can veto them? It’s the Prime Minister’s Office. We have placed evidence on record that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers were even monitoring it,” he said.
“On November 1, an Army unit came and that Army unit in Safdarjung Enclave was trying to save the Sikhs who were under attack. One officer came and stopped them. He said there are no orders for the Army to move in. After 15-20 minutes that Army unit was directed to report to the cantonment. When they went to the cantonment, they were asked to confine to barracks and their arms were taken away,” he added.
Phoolka said that 2000 lives could be saved as enough army personal were available by government chose to not use them. “5,000 Army personnel were available in Delhi on November 1, 1984. If that Army could have been deployed, it could have saved 2,000 lives. This was directly the Prime Minister’s Office, who was managing and controlling it,” he said.
Talking about the alleged involvement of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Phoolka said, “Even Kamal Nath came to Rakab Ganj Gurdwara. Gurdwara was burned, two Sikhs were burned alive over there. Kamal Nath told the police that he was sent by the Prime Minister. It is in the police report that Kamal Nath came there and said he had been sent by the Prime Minister to see if any Hindu has been kept as a captive there. Despite the presence of Kamal Nath, the police fired on Sikhs inside the Gurdwara.”
Phoolka said that “due to the sheer power of the government and their influence, they have suppressed all this evidence. But there is enough material to show, it was directly Rajiv Gandhi’s office, which was giving the directions to kill the Sikhs,” he added.
The anti-Sikh riots in 1984, which was triggered by the murder of prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, caused the death of 2,800 Sikhs in Delhi as per official records, although unofficial sources estimate the number of deaths about 8,000-17,000. Violence towards Sikhs and destruction of Sikh properties were led by Congress workers, while police remained mute spectators.