New Delhi: In a damage control move ahead of voting in Delhi for the Lok Sabha election, the Congress on Friday distanced itself from the controversial remarks of Sam Pitroda on 1984 anti-Sikh riots.In an official statement, the Congress said, “We continue to support the quest for justice and stern punishment for those found guilty in 1984 riots as also the subsequent acts of violence including the 2002 Gujarat riots. Any opinion remark made by any individual to the contrary, including Sam Pitroda is not the opinion of the Congress party.” In a statement, which was issued after Pitroda’s remarks drew criticism from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress said, “Violence and riots are unacceptable and unpardonable in our society. Indian National Congress and its leadership have strived to ensure justice for 1984 riot victims”. The grand old party has also advised all party leaders to be careful and sensitive while making statements on any issue. Meanwhile, Pitroda has apologized for his statements and claimed that his statements were blown out of proportion because his Hindi is not good. Pitroda claimed that his statements on the 1984 riots were twisted. “The statement I made was completely twisted, taken out of context because my Hindi isn’t good, what I meant was ‘jo hua vo bura hua,’ (what happened was bad), I couldn’t translate bura (bad) in my mind,” Pitroda clarified. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, who also tweeted the party’s official statement, said, “Riots and violence have no place in our society. Indian National Congress abhors violence of any kind, against any person or a group of people based on their caste, colour, region or religion”. While turning the table on BJP for fielding terror accused candidate in Lok Sabha elections, the Congress said, “Unlike the BJP, which has decided to field a candidate charged with terror crimes and is being lauded as its face by none less than Narendra Modi himself, Congress has shown the moral and political courage to punish people and leaders accused of violence/role in 1984.” “This is the yardstick of self-imposed accountability and sense of justice to people followed by the Congress, unlike the BJP,” the Congress said. Scaling up its attack on BJP, the Congress, in its statement said, “For BJP, riots are vote garnering exercise in every election, instead of ensuring justice and closure. People should see through this Machiavellian game of deception, distraction and distortion by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” On Thursday, Sam Pitroda, who is the president of the Indian Overseas Congress, had made the comment when he was asked about the BJP’s claim that the Nanavati Commission that probed the 1984 carnage had recorded that “instructions to kill” came directly from the office of then PM Rajiv Gandhi. “I don’t think so, this is also another lie, and what about 1984? Ab kya hai 1984 ka? Aapne kya kiya 5 saal mein, uski baat kariye. 1984 mein hua to hua. Aapne kya kiya? (You speak about what you have done in five years. It happened in 1984, so what? What have you done),” Pitroda had told a private news agency. The comment was seized by the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, at a public rally, called it an egregious display of arrogance by the Congress. “Congress, which ruled for a long time, has been insensitive and that is reflected by the three words spoken yesterday…these words have not been spoken just like that, these words are character and mentality and intentions of the Congress. And which were these words, these were ‘hua to hua’,” PM Modi said. The BJP’s Delhi unit has asked the police to file an FIR against Pitroda.
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