Both President and Vice President, Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari, respectively, paid floral tributes on the 32nd death anniversary of Indra Gandhi, while Rahul Gandhi led a march from 24 Akbar road to 1 Safdarjung road, where former female Prime Minister had been assassinated.
Others present at the Indira Memorial paying tribute were former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress Vice President and party President and daughter-in-law to Indira Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi along with other senior leaders.
The present dignitaries attended a prayer meeting on the occasion, however no one from the Union government was present, said senior leader Anand Sharma. He also went on to attack current Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for “deliberately disrespecting” the memory and martyrdom of Indira Gandhi by describing her as the “tallest leader, and popular Prime Minister who gave her life for India.”
“Indira Gandhi’s martyrdom is respected by the people of this country. It is matter of shame that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government are disrespecting the memory and ultimate sacrifice of India’s late Prime Minister Shrimati Indira Gandhi,” he said. “I would like to remind the BJP and the RSS that they should also remember Sardar Patel’s action and the decision to ban the RSS. They should also publish this in their government advertisements.” Sharma said.
Other leaders who covered the one-kilometer-long distance from the Congress headquarters to the memorial with Rahul were Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sharma, Kumari Selja, Ahmed Patel and Randeep Surjewala. Earlier, the party had cancelled the annual commemoration programme at Shakti Sthal as it continues to remain shut after reporting a number of duck deaths amid the bird flu scare in the city.
Prime Minister Modi, whilst remember the contribution of the ‘Iron Man’ of India, urged the nation to promote unity and equality among all on Sunday.
“We should take a positive step towards it and work to promote equality in the society. But on one Sardar’s birthday, history remembers how the Sikhs and ‘sardars’ all over the country faced violence and pain, which is why we all need to learn that we all must unite and work towards unity rather than allowing divisiveness to spread,” he added.
Indira Gandhi was the first and to date the only female prime minister of India. She was assassinated after she ordered the storming of the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar to counter the Punjab insurgency. On October 31, 1984, two of her Sikh bodyguards shot her with their service weapons at the Prime Minister’s residence.
Both the accused were sentenced to death and hanged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, while following her cremation, millions of Sikhs were displaced and nearly three thousand were killed in anti-Sikh riots.