Big B's Sikh appeal
A move by Amitabh Bachchan to clear his name with the Sikh clergy after his name was dragged into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots is facing opposition from sections of the community.
Bachchan's plea to the Jathedar (head) of the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion, Gurbachan Singh, through a letter dated November 28, in which he pleaded his innocence in the anti-Sikh riots, is likely to be considered for discussion by the five Sikh high priests at a meeting in Amritsar on December 22.
In his letter, Bachchan wrote: "I am addressing this letter to you with a most pained heart. Wild, irresponsible and most unfounded allegations, by certain sections of the Sikh community, about my involvement in the inciting of violence against them during the most unfortunate Sikh riots of 1984, has caused me acute agony."
Sikh organisations and independent witnesses have now come forward claiming that Bachchan had come out of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on October 31, 1984, and instigated crowds. Manjit Singh, who lived in the Kalu Sarai area of Delhi then, said in an affidavit to Akal Takht that he himself saw Bachchan instigating people.
Nearly 7,000 Sikhs were killed in the November 1984 anti-Sikh riots in various parts of India following the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards in New Delhi on October 31, 1984.