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Congress, Akalis in slanging match over Sikh killings in US gurdwara

PTI 21 Sep 2012, 12:18:29 PM IST
New Delhi, Aug 9: The killing of six Sikhs in a US gurdwara led to a slanging match between the opposition and treasury benches in the Lok Sabha today with Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal accusing Akali Dal of “baking the political cake on funeral pyre” of the victims. 

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Harsimrat Kaur (Akali Dal) demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lead a delegation of Sikh MPs to the US and the government carry out a global campaign to “enlighten” people abroad that Sikhs were not terrorists.

Heated exchanges between Opposition and Congress members ensued when Partap Singh Bajwa (Cong) started speaking on the issue and Akali Dal members stormed the Well of the House.  This prompted M Thambidurai, who was in the Chair, to adjourn the House for over an hour.

Like yesterday, Congress President Sonia Gandhi was seen marshalling the forces when Kaur became sharply critical of the Congress and the government accusing them of doing precious little when the community was the target of attacks.  She also accused the Congress of being responsible for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

“Whatever has happened is a tragedy for the whole nation and it is a matter of concern. .... We should not bake our political cake on the funeral pyre of the victims. It is not good,” Bansal said, apparently taking the signal from Gandhi.  

The Minister said he had suggested that the Akali Dal should bring a calling attention motion on the issue which would have facilitated a response from the government, instead of raising it during Zero Hour.

In an apparent dig at the Akali Dal, he said their members should have been in the gurdwaras where prayers were being held for those killed.