Toronto, June 28 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday apologized 'on behalf of the Government of India' for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, saying that it should have never happened.
Addressing a function organized by Punjabi Canadian lawmakers in Toronto, Dr. Singh said: "I promise you that after going back home I will set up some mechanism to deliberate on all these issues that have been raised here or that have been raised elsewhere in the Indo-Canadian communities."
"With regard to the events of 1984, these are horrible crimes. They should have never happened. I have on behalf of the Government of India apologized on behalf of the nation for what had happened in 1984," he added.
The Prime Minister further said that there are "visible weakness" in the country's judicial system
"There are concerns that those who perpetrated these crimes must be brought to book, there are visible weakness in Indian judicial system, just as weakness in the Canadian legal system. We are trying to address those issues," Dr. Singh said.
"One cannot offer any compensation to those who have lost there near and dear one in these tragic circumstances, but our government in the first UPA opened up all cases of so-called compensation," he added.
He also said that the government is looking for more options to provide relief to the victims and their relatives.
"I don't see there can be adequate compensation at all, but we have opened up what more can be done to provide relief to the victims and their relatives, so that they can once again lead a life of dignity and self respect," Dr. Singh said.
"Communities and nation, it is futile on my part to say to forget past. The past is there, we cannot get away our past, but the challenge is how to move ahead in the world, which is increasingly globalised, which is increasingly becoming an integrated one world," he added.
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots refers to four days of violence in north India following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her guards, who were Sikhs.
Indira Gandhi's assasination was seen as a consequence of Operation Blue Star of June 1984 when Central forces attacked the Golden Temple in Armitsar to flush out Sant Bhindranwale and Khalistani forces who had entrenched themselves in some areas of the Akal Takht in the Golden Temple complex. .
According to unconfirmed figures, 3000 Sikhs were killed during the disturbances and 50,000 were forced to flee their homes. (ANI)