We came across a shocking report describing how a prime witness in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots has accused the Shahenshah of Bollywood of provoking the killing of Sikhs after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
We strongly refuse to believe this news report that we just read in a popular daily, considering it involves the nation’s favourite, most peaceful and non-violent superstar, the patriarch of Hindi cinema. Amitabh Bachchan is being accused of instigating criminal violence by someone who insists she saw it all happen. While talking to The Times of India in 2011, Jagdish Kaur, a prime witness in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case said, “I wonder why no one in India lodged a case against Amitabh Bachchan for provoking the killing of Sikhs.”
If you remember, in 1984, following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards – Satwant Singh and Beant Singh – Delhi and its surrounding areas saw bloody riots, with Sikhs being the target. Kaur, who lost members of her family for no fault of theirs, recollects the incident, “I watched the live relay on Doordarshan and saw Amitabh Bachchan shouting the slogan – ‘Khoon ka badla khoon se lenge!‘. And everyone who saw the live telecast would know how Amitabh Bachchan provoked the riots.”
The violence led to huge personal loss for Kaur – her husband and son were murdered as she watched, killed by a frenzied mob inside her house in West Delhi on November 1, 1984. Sadly, she also lost her three brothers, who were burnt to death.
After the tragic incident, a US-based Sikh human rights group lodged a criminal complaint against Bachchan in Australia for instigating the 1984 riots. And that got us wondering why this was done in Australia and not in India, where the incident took place! Australia’s Criminal Code Act 1995 states that Australian courts have jurisdiction over cases involving crimes against humanity, irrespective of whether the offense was committed in that country or not.
For Jagdish Kaur, who lost everything that was important to her in the violence, life indeed has been tragic. And we totally sympathise with her grief when she says: “Any mention of him or his work reminds me of his (Big B) role in the 1984 riots.”
We believe that ours is a democratic country where every individual is entitled to fight for his or her rights and voice an unbiased opinion. And if anyone is found guilty, he or she should be punished by law. But we find it rather difficult to accept that the actor who stands for all that is upright and noble should be accused of something as shameful and villainous as inciting violence…killing! Frankly, we cannot believe that it was Amitabh Bachchan shouting that slogan, or even that he was present in such volatile circumstances. You tell us – do you think Amitji could have done this?