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Sat, Apr 30, 2011 6:03:41
Dr. Manmohan Singh: ‘I have no hesitation in apologizing to the Sikh community’

When Manmohan Singh the first Sikh Prime Minister in 2005 offered an apology to  for the 1984 attacks on Sikhs.

American diplomatic cable accredits this as a “singular act of political courage'' and an “almost Gandhian moment of moral clarity in India's long march to religious harmony.”

In 1984 Sikhs witnessed their Holiest Shrine Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) stormed by its own Indian government, under the political leadership of the Congress party, lead by Indira Ghandi.

October 31, 1984, Indra Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, following her death Sikhs were targeted, BBC figures allude to 20,000 Sikhs being killed by anti-Sikh mobs lead by politicians and police.

The first and only political apology came form Dr Manmohan Singh, was this because he is a  Sikh, he also urged the Sikh community to forget the 1984 anti-Sikh actions 

Writing on August 12, 2005 (38469: unclassified), Robert O'Blake, Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in New Delhi, noted that Dr. Singh had done “what no Indian leader in 20 years has been willing to do.”

“The PM's singular act of political courage stands in exquisite contrast to the opportunism and hatred directed by senior GOI officials against Sikhs in 1984. The PM's act of statesmanship will raise his already strong reputation as a representative of the nation's highest Gandhian ideals,” he said, adding that the apology “pre-empted BJP's efforts to capitalize on the (Nanavati Commission) report, which named two high-profile Congress leaders as conspirators in the riots.”

The Punjab and Punjabi’s in Crisis said “To say Dr Manmohan Singh is like Ghandi is a welcomed statement, as we feel Gandhi had not compassion for the Sikhs neither does the current Congress party, these are simply words without any essence”

“Sikhs have suffered for the past 27 years, there is no conclusion to the many commissions, the culprits are still on the loose”

The cable, accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, said the Congress party's “swift action'' against Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar in the wake of the commission's report “raised questions about the fate of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi if a similar commission investigating the 2002 Gujarat riots finds his government at fault.''

In his apology in Parliament on August 12, 2005, Dr. Manmohan Singh said: “I have no hesitation in apologizing to the Sikh community. I apologize not only to the Sikh community, but to the whole Indian nation because what took place in 1984 is the negation of the concept of nationhood enshrined in our Constitution.”

The cable, describing the riots as “one of the saddest and darkest moments in recent Indian history,” said: “The PM apology and forced resignation of a minister with long ties to the Gandhi family has surprised Indians who only expected the worst of their politicians. The PM's singular act of political courage will be long-remembered as a momentous — almost Gandhian — moment of moral clarity in India's long march to religious harmony.”

 

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