Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid

MUMTAZ ALAM | Caravan Daily

More than his mind, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid spoke a plain truth while speaking at an event at Aligarh Muslim University on Sunday. Grandson of India’s third President Dr. Zakir Hussain, Khurshid said Congress hands are stained with Muslims’ blood when asked about anti-Muslim riots on the watch of Congress governments in Independent India. After uproar, the Congress has disowned his remarks. Instead of ducking or disowning Khurshid’s remarks – and Congress has no moral right to do either – India’s Grand Old Party should come out and boldly do these two things.

One. It should admit it could not save lives of thousands of Muslims during scores of massive anti-Muslim riots orchestrated on its watch in the states where it was in power. Maliana, Hashimpura, Bhagalpur and post-Babri demolition riots are some examples. The party should offer apology to the country’s largest religious minority for its failure to stop those riots and killing of thousands of Muslims in them. Apology is never late.

The party itself has offered belated apology over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, not once but thrice. In 1998, about one and half decades after the anti-Sikh riots, then Congress president Sonia Gandhi had regretted the killings. Seven years later when Congress was ruling at the centre, party leader and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh offered a clear apology over the 1984 riots. About a decade later in March 2014, when Congress was seeking third term of power in a row, Congress scion Rahul Gandhi had offered apology on the same 1984 riots. “The Prime Minister of the UPA has apologised and the President of the Congress party (has) expressed regrets. I share their sentiments completely,” Rahul, who is now party president, had said.

Has any Congress leader ever offered apology for any of the dozens of anti-Muslim riots? No. The party owes at least a big one for all.

Two. Commenting on Khurshid’s ‘Muslim blood’ remarks, a BJP leader has said the Congress hands are stained with Sikh blood also. Here comes an opportunity for the Congress to confront BJP in the face and ask it to own up its share of anti-Muslim riots, particularly the Gujarat 2002 riots during which around 2,000 Muslims were killed. Congress should ask BJP to apologize for the Gujarat riots as it did for the anti-Sikh riots.

Why apology? Because governments of those parties could not save lives of innocents, which was their constitutional duty. Apology does not absolve the killers and rapists of their sins. They must be brought to justice. Victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and 2002 anti-Muslim riot are awaiting justice.


  1. I am sorry but apology means nothing to the victims… Even the punishments of the criminals is not justice. It is a shame that in the 21st century with all the technology hooliganism violence and mobs are not controlled. Muslim blood, Sikh Blood, Hindu blood… Why can’t it just be innocent human blood. Congress has failed the nation since 1945 and a sectarian BJP is a creation of Congress policy of divide and rule.


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