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Akalis, Cong in war of words over Rahul Gandhi's visit to Golden Temple

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 13, 2019  | 21:53 IST

(Eds: Updating with additional inputs) Chandigarh, Apr 13 (PTI) The Congress and opposition SAD on Saturday engaged in a bitter war of words over Rahul Gandhi's visit to the Golden Temple, with the latter demanding an apology from the ruling party's president for Operation Blue Star and the former accusing the Akalis of playing "shallow" politics. Gandhi, accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, visited the Golden Temple on late on Friday night, soon after his arrival in Amritsar to mark the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal held the Congress responsible for the "attack" on the Sikh shrine, also known as Harmandir Sahib. The Indian Army had carried out Operation Blue Star in June 1984 to flush out militants hiding in the Golden Temple complex. "Rahul Gandhi's visit is just to gain political mileage. He should have tendered an apology for Operation Blue Star in 1984," she said in Bathinda, adding, "Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh should have asked Rahul to tender apology for the attack on Harmandir Sahib in 1984." The comments by the Union minister invited sharp reaction from the Congress. Amarinder Singh tweeted, "Did you, your husband@officeofssbadal or his father, Prakash Singh Badal, ever apologise for your great grandfather, Sardar Sunder Singh Majithia's lavish dinner to Gen Dyer on the day of Jallianwala Bagh massacre?He was later knighted in 1926 for his loyalty and his deeds." Earlier, Harsimrat Kaur Badal wrote on Twitter, "Pb CM @capt_amarinder took @RahulGandhi to Sri Akal Takht Sahib but lacked courage to ask him admit the @INCIndia's sin of demolishing Sikhs' highest religio-temporal seat with tank & mortars. What a contrast with demand for British apology for #JallianwalaBaghMassacre !" The Punjab chief minister described Harsimrat Kaur Badal's tweet as an "outrageous statement and blatantly politically motivated", and lashed out at the Union minister, her brother Bikram Singh Majithia and the Badal clan for "playing the charade of nationalism to promote their vested political interests". "I resigned from Parliament and my party in protest against the military action. I was, and still am, fully aware of the implications and consequences of the events of those days," Amarinder Singh said, while quipping that Harsimrat Kaur Badal would have been in school at that time and "totally clueless" of what transpired then. Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar also attacked the Akalis alleging that the SAD had a "small thinking" and was indulging in "shallow" politics. Earlier in the day, Gandhi paid floral tributes at the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial and said the cost of freedom must never ever be forgotten. The massacre took place in Jallianwala Bagh during the Baisakhi festival in April 1919. The British Indian Army, under the command of Colonel Dyer, fired machine guns at a crowd holding a pro-independence demonstration, leaving hundreds dead. PTI VSD NSD NSD

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