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That Time When Amitabh Bachchan Allegedly Instigated The 1984 Riots With Hate Speech On Live TV!

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By Bala Sai:

Here is a man widely respected and admired across the country. He has captured many a heart playing powerful, memorable roles on screen, over the past 45 years. He is more than a star; he is a legend. He has been bestowed with two of the highest civilian honours, Padma Shri (1984) and Padma Bhushan (2001). In 2007, the French government awarded him its highest civilian honor, the Knight of Legion of Honor, for his contribution to cinema and ‘beyond’. He became the first Asian alive to have his wax model displayed at the world-famous Madame Taussauds. He has been conferred with honorary doctorates by five different universities around the world. In 2012, he carried the Olympic torch in its last leg in London. Today, he is India’s pride.

Amitabh-Bachchan.

But in the dark cloisters of history, in one of humanity’s darkest hours, he committed the most shameful crimes of all, and has got away with it, unscathed.

1984 was a shameful year for democracy. The assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, murdered by her Sikh bodyguards, led to a widespread massacre across India, claiming the lives of over 8000 Sikhs nationwide, with 3000 fatalities in Delhi alone. There are many theories, many versions of what transpired and who were behind it. There are those whose lives were irreversibly damaged, who watched their loved ones slaughtered and burned alive, and those who, till date, are awaiting justice. Many perpetrators of the brutality are still at large, having conveniently escaped the clutches of the law. Among the long list of the alleged names overlooked by justice, you can find one of the most recognizable faces in India, Amitabh Bachchan. Yes, the Bollywood legend is accused to have been a part of one of India’s most brutal genocides in history.

“Khun ka badla khun sae laengae!” (Blood for blood). This isn’t a dialogue lifted from some action film, mouthed with simmering machismo by the hero vowing to take revenge against the baddies. In fact, this is what Amitabh Bachchan is alleged to have said on national television, broadcast throughout the country on the day the nation lost its Prime Minister, on a day when communal tensions were high, on a day when Sikh families across the country held their breath, fearing for their lives at the hands of a rampaging mob.

Jagdish Kaur, one of the survivors of the 1984 pogrom, watched in horror as her worst nightmare played out before her eyes. Blood-thirsty men stormed her house and murdered her husband and son in cold blood, in front of her eyes. She watched as the Delhi Police stood aside quietly while her three brothers were burned alive on the streets. She watched her world collapse around her.

A seething storm of men razed down her community, heeding to voices of anger and hatred inciting them to take up arms. Several Congress leaders were allegedly behind the ghastly attacks. But nothing compares to a nation-wide superstar propagating war-cries live on national television.

Needless to say, Doordarshan’s recordings pertaining to the period of the massacre have been conveniently lost, destroying any evidence of Amitabh’s involvement. However, the Sikh community is not mollified. A US based Human Rights group has lodged a criminal complaint against him in Australia, under its Criminal Code Act of 1995, which allows it jurisdiction over any crimes on humanity committed anywhere in the world. As recently as on October 27th this year, a Los Angeles court has issued summons for his involvement in the pogrom, for his alleged role in inciting and abetting the massacre. In India, the land of speedy justice, not a finger has been lifted against him.

“Everybody who was watching Doordarshan was a witness to how he (Amitabh Bachchan) provoked the anti-Sikh rioters. Amitabh’s slogan added fuel to the fire and took the lives of thousands of innocent Sikh men and women. I am not concerned that a case has been registered against him in Australia, but all I want to know is why nobody noticed Amitabh’s provoking statement in India,” a distraught Jagdish Kaur said, voicing the anguish of Sikhs across the world.

Amitabh, for his part, has categorically denied all allegations leveled against him, and has dismissed them as malicious rumors. In December 2011, he sent a sealed envelope to Akal Tahkt Jathedar, stressing his innocence. Meanwhile, more survivors are coming out, including Babu Singh Dukhia, who claim to have seen Bachchan on Doordarshan, spreading hatred.

India is a country that worships its movie stars. It was a time when Amitabh Bachchan enjoyed a demi-God status, and every word of his made powerful impact on people, having lasting, cascading effects. The heinousness of his action can only be understood by the catastrophic effects it led to. It was not just about a furious shaking of fists and a couple of angry words. It was a live death sentence to the Sikhs of our country.

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  1. Anupreet

    I am shocked that YKA allowed publishing of such an article! This is a recent charge brought up by a pro Khalistan group to use Amitabh Bachchan’s name to rake up the case. HS Phoolka the lawyer who has been fighting for Sikhs clearly said there was no evidence against Bachchan. Also, whole India used to watch Doordarshan back then! It is not possible that no one watched Bachchan spew hate on national TV and nobody remembers it! This lady is the sole claimant but she too spoke up only now. Where was she all these years?
    These are just baseless allegations levelled on assumption of Bachchan’s role in this due to his closeness to Gandhis. Bachchan’s own mother was Sikh. He cannot do such an act. This is a serious accusation which YKA published without proof!

    1. Surinder

      yes no evidence because there is no recordings of it anymore and that is what she is asking why haven’t any Indians made a claim about amitabh bachan doing it are they ignoring it because of amitabh popularity and even if bachan mother was a Sikh he acts like more like a hindu and seems more closer to hinduism

    2. Dil

      Thank you sir for the brilliant article.
      It’s so convenient for some Indians to label Sikhs as khalistanis, whenever the Sikhs ask for justice. In the same way we ridicule our daughters who are raped and offer them no justice…Shame on us.

    3. gill

      Miss Anupreet are you a sikh ? first question
      second question did u meet those people who lost there innocent family members in these riots ?
      Third question did u see those people blood & tears ?
      ok now let me tell u one thing when this all episode happen your bacchan was there standing beside indiras body & he said that
      blood for blood slogan he had instigated violence against the Sikh.So According to you those person families who died in this
      riots they are lied & ur bacchan is true shame on you & one more thing they remove all the evidence coz that time congress
      parties government

  2. Raminder Singh

    Must say thus might be a political. He bachahan has issued a statement denying this with explanation. The people saying this went live on TV, and that Bachchan gave a hate statement and then nobody saw it. Don’t know what to say. Sikhs were not to charge allegations for a political cause. Instead, the culprits are going Scott free. The culprits who actually were behind this pogrom. Just cause he chose a Hindu way of life, he cannot be held a victim. Without proof, it is wrong to blame anybody. Be it amithabh or anybody

  3. Raminder Singh

    Must say thus might be a political. He bachahan has issued a statement denying this with explanation. The people saying this went live on TV, and that Bachchan gave a hate statement and then nobody saw it. Don’t know what to say. Sikhs were not to charge allegations for a political cause. Instead, the culprits are going Scott free. The culprits who actually were behind this pogrom. Just cause he chose a Hindu way of life, he cannot be held a victim. Without proof, it is wrong to blame anybody. Be it amithabh or anybody. Hatred and anger against anybody is not the right choice

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