Official records: Manmohan Singh cited what Gujral told Nanavati panel
In his testimony before the Nanavati Commission, Gujral said that he had found Rao unaware of how the unrest was unfolding in the city. In fact, a strange reason was given to Gujral by then Lt Governor of Delhi, PG Gavai, for not calling in the ar…
NEW DELHI: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s belief that lives could be saved if the Army were called in immediately after riots broke out following Indira Gandhi’s assassination was shared by political leaders, veterans and even serving armed forces officers who had raised the matter, but the Congressled government had failed to act till it was too late, official records showed.
The president had said that he was not in touch with the home minister. The lack of action from the government had prompted the delegation to meet Rao but he, too, was found to be “impassive”.“This witness found the approach of the home minister casual and the impression which he and others carried was that he was totally unconcerned. He has also stated that as a matter of fact the home minister did not make any plan and discuss the matter with the Army chief for controlling the violence. They carried an impression that even if the Army arrives in the city, it will not be made effective and that their fears turned out to be correct as the Army was not made effective till 3-11-1984,” . the Nanavati commission report said.
Gujral was impressed upon by Lt Gen Aurora, who had led the Indian forces to victory in East Pakistan in 1971, that immediate action was needed to be taken. In his testimony, writer Patwant Singh recorded that Lt Gen Aurora, former ambassador S Gurbachan Singh and Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh, who was later elevated to the rank of Marshal of the Air Force, met then president Giani Zail Singh, to ask for action.While most commissions and reports have absolved Rajiv Gandhi, the Nanavati report carried the testimony of SC Tandon, then Delhi police commissioner, who said that the decision to call in the Army by the prime minister was taken at1.30 pm on November 1, over 24 hours after the assassination.
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