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1984 riots could have been avoided, if Narasimha Rao heeded to Gujral's advice: Manmohan Singh

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New Delhi, Dec 05: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday at a function to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Gujral, one of his predecessors has said that the Sikh massacre of 1984 in Delhi could have been avoided had the then Home Minister Narsimha Rao acted upon the advice of Inder Kumar Gujral.

"Gujral Ji was so concerned that he went to the then Home Minister Narsimha Rao that very evening .. the situation is so grave that it is necessary for the government to call the army at the earliest. If that advice would have been heeded perhaps the 1984 massacre could have been avoided," Singh said.

Manmohan Singh

The 1984 Sikh massacre, which followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the hands of her four Sikh security personnel, had leftover 3,000 Sikhs dead across the nation.

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Also speaking at the event, Former President Dr Pranab Mukherjee regretted the then Congress high command's decision to withdraw support from I K Gujral-led United Front government in 1998. He said that the decision allowed BJP to come to power.

"Many architects of United front government are here, Sitaram Yechuri is here, he has to face angry crowd, calling him responsible for the mischief of bringing down the coalition government, short point I am trying to make is... that these decisions perhaps we could have deferred the BJP from coming to power in 1998... and the government could have continued with our support for full term," Pranab Mukherjee said.

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Born in Jhelum on December 4, 1919, Gujral hailed from a family of freedom fighters and actively participated in the freedom struggle since 1931 and went to jail in 1942 during the Quit India Movement. He served a brief stint as the 12th Prime Minister of India and also became the third PM to be elected from the Rajya Sabha after Indira Gandhi and H D Deve Gowda.

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