NEW DELHI: ‘s statement on 1984 anti-Sikh riots where he had refuted allegations of Congress‘s involvement has triggered a war of words between the Congress and leaders of others political parties.

On Saturday, addressing the UK parliamentarians and local leaders, Rahul had described the riots as a “very painful tragedy” and said he was “100 per cent” for the punishment for those involved in any violence against anybody.

“I think any violence done against anybody is wrong. There are legal processes ongoing in India but as far as I‘m concerned anything done that was wrong during that period should be punished and I would support that 100 per cent,” he said.

“I have no confusion in my mind about that. It was a tragedy, it was a painful experience. You say that the Congress party was involved in that, I don‘t agree with that. Certainly there was violence, certainly there was tragedy,” he added.

Not many people approved of the Congress chief‘s statement, especially leaders from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

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SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said that Rahul‘s statement hasn‘t been very helpful and it has only “added salt to the wounds” of the victims of the ghastly riots in which over 3,000 Sikhs were killed.

“Rahul Gandhi has conveyed clear message, he is with those who killed innocent at that time. The statement given by Rahul Gandhi has added salt to the wounds of the victims,” he said.

Another SAD leader, , was more unforgiving with her words.

“If as per him Sikh massacre never took place then as per me his father and grandmother were never assassinated, they died of normal heart attack,” she was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

BJP‘s national secretary RP Singh said that Gandhi was trying to wash his party‘s hands of its alleged culpability in the riots. “Sikhs are already troubled due to lack of justice and such comments by Gandhi would vitiate the atmosphere and may push certain people in the same cycle of violence that was seen in 1980s,” he warned.

He also questioned the apology tendered by former Prime Minister . “What should we understand from the apology by the PM and regret from Congress president Sonia Gandhi?” he said.

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