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PM asks Sikhs to put ’84 behind
Published on 29 Jun. 2010 1:14 AM IST
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Assuaging the Sikhs in Canada that his government was doing everything possible to heal the wounds of the 1984 riots, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday urged the community to put the past behind them and move forward.
In a meeting with Indo-Canadian parliamentarians before paying his respects to the victims of the Kanishka bombing at the Air India Memorial here, Manmohan Singh said the riots were a horrible tragedy which should not have happened. The riots had followed the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi Oct 31, 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards,
The prime minister said he apologised for the tragedy in 2005 and his government also opened the issue of compensation to the victims. But the Indian judicial system has the same problems as the Canadian system, he said, hinting at the delay in justice and acquittal of the accused in the riots.
He said though it is difficult to forget a tragedy, the community should not dwell too much on the past and play its larger role in India.
However, he regretted that some groups were trying to keep the issue alive to further their separatist agenda.
The prime minister’s remarks came in the meeting which also included Indo-Canadian MP Sukh Dhaliwal, who recently introduced a motion in the Canadian parliament to declare the 1984 riots a “genocide”.
Urging the Indian prime minister to address the issue of the 1984 riots, former Canadian health minister Ujjal Dosanj warned that many groups were using the issue to further their Khalistani agenda. “Justice for the riots victims is far from their mind,” Dosanjh said.
Hailing the Indian government’s move to give voting rights to non-resident Indians India, Dosanjh however, cautioned Singh against opening booths in Canada as this would further divide the Indian community.

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