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Rajiv Gandhi had snubbed Julio Riberio when asked for action against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar for his role in anti-Sikh riots
Pawan Kumar Bansal | 03 Feb 2014

Congress, Vice-President, Rahul Gandhi,s claim in interview on T.V, Channel claiming that Congress and Union Govt. had tried to stop anti Sikh violence in Delhi, in 1984 after assassination of then Prime Minister ,Indira Gandhi has been challenged by none other than, Trilochan Singh, then Press Secretary of then President, Giani Zail Singh .

 

Sikh organisations allege that Congress leaders including Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler had instigated mob for violence against Sikhs. Even, Randeep Surjewala,spokesman of Congress was finding it difficult in defending Rajiv Gandhi  raising  doubts about Trilochans claims adding that he had been beneficiary of B.J.P rule and there was no justification raking issue after thirty years.

.Forget claims of Trilochan Singh that, Rajiv Gandhi even did not took calls of Zail Singh, who was shocked over reports of violence against Sikhs, on the day of assassination of Indira Gandhi, even Julio Ribeiro,top  cop who had headed Punjab Police during peak of terrorism  at grave risk to his life had alleged that Rajiv Gandhi  had snubbed him when he had advocated action against ,Sajjan Kumar at a high level meeting held in Delhi to review Punjab situation, presided over by Rajiv Gandhi himself . Rajiv Gandhi had said that he  could not allow prosecution of Sajjan Kumar,a committed loyalist to Gandhi family  merely because of some false allegations .Ribeiro also admits that  there was no political will to conduct investigations professionally  a charge  supported by Delhi police, retired cop, Ved Marwah also. Ribeiro, in his book titled ‘Bullet for Bullet’, writes that he was the only officer who used to advocate prosecution of politicians accused of inciting the mobs to kill the Sikhs in Delhi. .According to top cop ,at first ,Rajiv Gandhi did not react to what he used to  said but when repeated his views third time, S.S.Ray ,then Governor of Punjab advised him not

 to voice this sentiments again in the presence of Rajiv Gandhi.

 .Ribeiro further writes that  he was not sure whether Rajiv had asked Ray to communicate  this to me or the Governor himself felt  that Rajiv Gandhi did not  like any reference to the issue. Top cop writes that he was  not one to stay silent when convinced that a grave injustice  was being done adding that it was  he who was fighting  a difficult battle to win the hearts and minds of the Sikhs and he had to win this battle in order to succeed in  the war against terrorism.

Riberio  has revealed  that  once taking advantage of Ray,s absence during the meeting with the Prime Minister as he was called from the meeting  to keep an appointment with the chief justice of the Supreme Court  when he raised the issue of Delhi riots and killings with Rajiv Gandhi, he lost his temper adding  that  he was surprised and shocked that Rajiv Gandhi had never lost his temper with  him. According to Riberio ,Rajiv Gandhi said that he did not want  him to raise the matter again as he could not agree to prosecute Sajjan Kumar,a committed Congress loyalist ,merely because of some false allegations being made against him. Defending, Sajjan Kumar ,Rajiv Gandhi said that he was present beside the body of his mother throughout the time it lay in State adding that he was himself a witness to this fact.

.Top cop writes that all the politicians and officers present in the meeting were shocked  and were silent  adding  that he thought it fit to point out to Rajiv Gandhi that since the commission had indicted Sajjan Kumar,a prosecution would meet the requirements. Top cop regrets that  although intrinsically  a decent individual with good instincts who used to listen him in most of the matters but unfortunately that on this particular issue  he was influenced  by the fact that Sajjan Kumar was a loyalist,totally committed to the Gandhi family and his instincts  told him that he could not let Kumar down.

Narrating an incident to prove that he used to enjoy confidence of Rajiv Gandhi to the extent that two days after an armed man with country-made –gun had shot at him at the Gandhi Smadhi at Rajghat in Delhi, Rajiv Gandhi had invited him at his Delhi residence for one-to-one discussion  about his own security and had requested him to  appoint an officer to oversee his security .Interestingly till this meeting concluded, then minister of state for home ,Chidambaram and cabinet secretary B.G.Deshmukh had to wait outside. But Rajiv Gandhi did not liked , Riberio,s suggestions about Sajjan Kumar.

Ribeiro writes that during his journey through the villages of Punjab and his interaction with numerous Sikh Villagers he had found that  the massacre of Sikhs in Delhi following the assassination of Indira Gandhi and subsequent failure of Congress Govt. in arresting those leaders who had instigate the rioters were  troubling them .Top cop  writes that he was shocked at the behaviour of Rajiv Gandhi in the meeting on Sajjan Kumar issue stating that Rajiv Gandhi otherwise simple hearted man was also responsive to his suggestions for tackling militancy in Punjab.

Top   cop writes that he used to convey his observations about feeling of Sikhs of Punjab regularly to then, Punjab, Governor ,S.S.Ray and to the Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi .But Rajiv Gandhi was acting on advice of various confidents from time to time including Arjun Singh to start with ,by Arun Nehru  till the latter fell out of favour, by S.K.Fotedar , by Buta Singh after he became home minister and by Chidambaram at a later stage .Besides many officers  including cabinet secretary. G.Deshmukh , Principal Secretary to the prime minister Sarla Grewal and M.K.Nrayan,the director of the I.B  used to advice him.