20 January, 2021

1984 Muck Sticks To This Lotus

The Congress throws political self-interest to the wind every time. Not contrition, not even evasion...it’s as if that dark past didn’t happen.

Man With A Past
Congress leader Kamal Nath
1984 Muck Sticks To This Lotus

In November 1, 1984, some time after 2 pm, The Indian Express reporter Sanjay Suri headed to Gurudwara Rakabganj after hearing of trouble there. He found Kamal Nath leading a mob of about 4,000 while a police contingent headed by additional commissioner Gautam Kaul, first cousin to Indira Gandhi, stood by. Earlier in the day, the mob had burned two Sikh men to death. Their bodies lay there burning as the mob made desultory attempts to enter the gurudwara.

In his book 1984: The Anti-Sikh Violence and After, Suri points out that the mob was completely under Kamal Nath’s control and composed seemingly of Congressmen. Clearly, Kamal Nath stayed there for several hours without attempting to disperse the crowd. He also made no attempt to ensure the bodies of those burnt to death were carried away by the police, or handed over to their kin in the gurudwara. In the context of the massacres of 1984 and 2002, this was the one clear incident where a credible witness could point to a senior politician’s presence at the head of a mob of party workers at...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Hartosh Singh Bal

Latest Magazine

January 25, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section