Manmohan Singh – Congress captain or scapegoat?

File photo of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. (PTI)

File photo of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. (PTI)

On former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s 70th birth anniversary, coincidentally new reports over a US court dismissing human rights violation case against the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made headline. The court had said that he enjoys immunity. Though the dismissal of the case in the US court does not hold any importance but what is consequential is the timing of the case. One cannot forget the anti-Sikh pogrom which left more than 3000 Sikhs dead and several families destroyed in 1984 and which still haunts the nation.

According to a PTI report,  the US District Judge James Boasberg in District of Columbia gave this ruling in an alleged human rights violation case filed by New York-based rights group, “Sikhs for Justice” (SFJ) and an individual, Inderjit Singh. In their case filed last year, SFJ and Inderjit Singh claimed that as Finance Minister Manmohan Singh “funded several counter insurgency operations in Punjab during the 1990s, resulting in more than hundred thousand Sikhs being killed extra-judicially by the security forces”.

During his tenure as the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh was accused of being complicit in the torture and killing of Sikhs. The judge said, “While Singh’s alleged acts as Finance Minister are not ‘private’ per se, they did not occur in the course of his official duties as head of state.”

Image credit: http://www.tehelka.com

Image credit: http://www.tehelka.com

Following the order, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ, said this is a start of long and uphill battle against the former Prime Minister. According to Attorney Ravi Batra, Judge Boasberg parsed the head-of-state immunity with a “surgical scalpel” and immunised any and all claims during the 10-year Prime Ministership while exposing to potential liability those claimed and complained-off acts that were allegedly committed during 1991-1996 as India’s Finance Minister.


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However, Sonia Gandhi’s apologies at the Golden Temple in Amritsar have not melted the hearts of the Sikh community. In fact, such lip services only proved fatal for the Congress. Despite the fact that the Congress tried to win back the lost face and trust among the community by making Manmohan Singh – the Prime Minister of India, still it could not achieve what it wanted to. The unfortunate words of Rajiv Gandhi – “When a big tree falls, the earth shakes” still echos and give goose bumps to everyone who remembers the massacre of Sikhs in 1984. Yes, it is true but this time, the earth has shaken the ground beneath the Congress, and the mother earth is happy because the sins of the Congress will not been seen again in years to come.

For the Congress, Manmohan Singh was just a face to appease the community and nothing more. Everyone in the world knows the man called Manmohan Singh was commonly referred to as  “Maunmohan” (the Silent Prime Minister of India). A tag which will unfortunately stay with him forever. The Congress used him conveniently forgetting his contributions. In fact, the Congress – degraded the man so much that Manmohan Singh lost relevance in political discourse despite being the Head of State and became maun till the end of his tenure.

One cannot forget that he became the butt of many jokes not only back home but abroad as well because of the multitude of scams and scandals during the UPA decade. The man lost all that he earned during his career as Finance Minister. In fact, he was ridiculed so much that his family had to jump to save him. One of his daughters, Daman Singh has written a book on his days with the Congress, fiercely defending her father.

But it is too late for both the Congress and Manmohan Singh.


ABOUT AUTHOR

Aliya Abbas

Journalist, at present working with Nitidigital as Features Editor