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I am innocent: Tytler

By Ehtasham Khan in New Delhi
Last updated on: August 08, 2005 22:10 IST
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Minister for Overseas Indians Affairs Jagdish Tytler, who has been suspected to be organising anti-Sikh riots by a commission of enquiry, on Monday said he was innocent, and not even present in Delhi when the violence took place 21 years ago.

Nearly 4,000 Sikhs were killed when Sikh bodyguards shot dead the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 possibly because the latter had ordered the Indian Army to storm the Golden Temple in Amritsar in Punjab where some terrorists were hiding.

In a report submitted to Parliament and the Action Taken Report of the government on Monday, Tytler has been said to have "very probably" organised anti-Sikh riots.

Rejecting the allegations, Tytler was said he was innocent and that the "guilty should be hanged." He said he had no plans to leave his ministerial berth in the government.

Tytler said: "This is a new Commission (appointed by the erstwhile National Democratic Alliance government). Earlier there have been eight commissions and nobody named me.

"This report says that I may have been involved. There is suspicion but no evidence against me."
A witness had told the commission that he saw Tytler in the mob instigating violence against Sikhs in Delhi. But two months later, he backtracked from his statement.
Tytler said: "The witness is not credible. I am innocent. I was not even present in Delhi when the violence took place. It has been proved."

He said, earlier, the Delhi high court had ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry against him. The CBI had said in its report that he was not involved in the riots either directly or indirectly, Tytler said.

"One cannot be punished on wrong evidence. If anyone is guilty, he should be hanged."

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Ehtasham Khan in New Delhi
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