New Delh: Making a statement in the parliament, Home Minister, S. B. Chavan, stated that Government had decided to hold judicial enquiry into ant-iSikh riots that took place after Mrs. Gandhi’s assassination. “Government has also decided to lift the ban from the AllIndia Sikh Students Federation,” he said. He hoped that the Akali Dal will respond to this gesture of government in a positive manner and return to the negotiating table.

Akalis had put some preconditions for resuming the dialogue. They had demanded judicial enquiry into the riots, lifting the ban on AISSF, withdrawal of army and paramilitary forces from Punjab, repeal of draconian laws, release of all Sikhs detained in jails, reprieve of army deserters and full compensation to the riot victims.

There has been a mixed reaction to the government announcement. It has been cautiously welcomed by some opposition parties and openly applauded by Congress (1) Sikhs like Rachhpal Singh, President Master Tara Singh Akali Dal and Khushwant Singh. Sikh ex-servicemen and intellectuals forum has dismissed the announcement as another gimmick of the treacherous government. They feel that Indian judiciary is no more independent and judges like Yogeshwar Dayal would only be too willing to exonerate powerful ruling party functionaries like H. K. L. Bhagat, Jagdish Tytler, Shastri etc. The judgment, they feel, would be another fake version like the notorious white paper. About the ban on AISSF, they feel that it had become irrelevant in view of the formation of Sikh Students Union which is actually another name of AISSF. They also feel that the government has provided an opportunity to the Akalis to postpone their action plan in order to save them from an awkward situation.

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 19, 1985