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Here’s What Rajiv Gandhi Actually Said On The 1984 Riots

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By Saif Khan:

I condemn the Sikh Genocide of 1984 and of the opinion that the Congress Party workers played a prominent role in organizing the rioting but it would be a travesty of truth to say that Rajiv Gandhi justified the rioting.


Indira Gandhi was assassinated on 31st October 1984. The rioting started on the 1st of November. The army was called in on the 2nd November and managed to restore calm on that very day itself. Rajiv Gandhi issued a statement on radio/television on the evening of 2nd November in which he said, “Some people are casting a slur on [Indira Gandhi’s] memory by indulging in acts of hatred and violence. This must stop. This violence is only helping the subversive forces. Communal madness will destroy everything India stands for. As for Prime Minister of India, I cannot and will not allow this.” The situation had been brought under control by the 3rd of November. No further riots took place after that day.

This particular statement of Rajiv Gandhi (When a mighty tree falls…) was made on the 19th of November on the first birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi after her death. The statement is taken out to context and an impression is given so as to suggest that Rajiv Gandhi sought to justify the riots. Instead he stated on that day when he made this statement, “Some riots took place in the country following the murder of Indira Ji. We know the people were angry and for a few days it seems India had been shaken. But, when a might tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it shakes. But, from the way you put a stop to it, from the way India has been brought back to the path of unity with your help, and is able to stand united again, the world can see that India has become a genuine democracy.

This is what Rajiv Gandhi originally said. I agree that he should have done more to punish the perpetrators of the crime but individually I think we should absolve him of any complicity in carrying out the genocide against Sikhs. In fact on the 1st November itself, Rajiv Gandhi was seen on television admonishing Congress workers raising the slogan, “Khoon ka badla khoon”.

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  1. Tanay Sukumar

    I condemn hearsay, and I believe such strong public opinion against a particular public figure about some incident must be supported by truth and reason. To the ideas against yours, there has been too much hearsay over the past 30 years. When you are stating something different, and calling it the truth, you must give references to support your stand. Else this becomes as baseless as the other hearsay opinions that go against Rajiv Gandhi’s alleged comments on the riots.
    Thanks though for the post: it opens the scope for an idea against what is normally believed.

  2. Vagalot

    I too think the basis of this must first be confirmed and if true, this needs to be publicized widely.

  3. Ramneek Singh

    There is a video on YouTube, in which the police officer who was supposed to look into the matter., stated..
    If rajiv Gandhi.had nothing to do with 1984 riots .. Why was the army stopped 50km from Delhi.. Army was not allowed to enter Delhi.. Till the genocide took place..
    He further stated, that there were telephonic conversations of rajiv Gandhi with several other congress person
    And further adding.. He said in the enquiry, he got to know there were big politicians involved.
    Before he could reach there… He was transferred..!!
    Now may I ask why??

  4. Sarabjeet Singh

    Mr. do you have any proof for your statements? I have two some questions:
    1. Why army was not dispatched to avoid this “genocide”
    2. Why all the leaders involved like tytler, sajjan kumar etc. were close associate of rajiv gandhi
    Instead of advocacy try something else

  5. rajbir singh

    It may seem out of context. But suppose when godse killed gandhi and nehru stated that ” when people get angry they get crazy. We should not loose our calmness and faith”
    So, the statement is not just wrong but so pathetically weak to condemn what so so so inhuman happened 3000 people killed their own countrymen.

    And he had no feelings of his own reading and speaking like a robot.

    Karamchand gandhi was assesinated and nobody touched another hindu or relatives of godse.

    Rajiv gandhi was blasted and nothing happened to tamils.

    So nothing out of anger but I think comparison always sheds light to the matters.

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