Date: 8/13/2005

Comment /// MP resigns over Gandhi inquiry /// Thursday, August 11, 2005 Posted: 0254 GMT (1054 HKT) /// Sikhs demonstrate in New Delhi against the Indian government's refusal to prosecute Jagdish Tytler. /// -- An Indian minister implicated in the killings of thousands of Sikhs following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 has resigned, after the current prime minister pledged to further investigate the attacks. /// Jagdish Tytler, the minister in charge of nonresident Indian affairs, met with Sonia Gandhi, the Congress party president, and handed in his resignation late Wednesday. /// "I have given my resignation to Gandhi to be forwarded to the prime minister. I want my name to be cleared," Tytler told reporters. /// Tytler's resignation was accepted by President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam later Wednesday on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recommendation, Press Trust of India news agency reported. /// Earlier, Singh, himself a Sikh, dismissed opposition demands to fire Tytler, who was implicated by a government commission that investigated the massacres. Singh's Congress Party was in power at the time of the riots. /// Singh's statement -- his first since the commission's report was released Monday -- came as hundreds of Sikhs protested for a second straight day, demanding officials implicated by the report be prosecuted, a step the government has so far refused to take. /// "My government will take all possible steps within the ambit of law," Singh said Wednesday during a stormy debate in Parliament. /// "Our government will consult the Law Ministry to bring the guilty to book," he said. /// "What happened was a national shame and a great national tragedy," Singh said. /// In its report, the commission found there was credible evidence that Tytler was "very probably" involved in organizing attacks on Sikhs in New Delhi. Tytler was a lawmaker and a senior Congress party official at the time of the riots. /// Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee also said the killings would be investigated further, possibly leading to court trials if enough evidence is found. /// The commission's report also said three other Congress party leaders -- Sajjan Kumar, Dharam Das Shastri and H. K. L. Bhagat -- may have taken part in the riots. /// The 1984 riots broke out after Gandhi was gunned down in retaliation for the Indian army's assault on the Golden Temple, the holiest site in Sikhism, where militant Sikhs had taken refuge. More than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in cities across northern India in three days of rioting. /// The commission -- set up by the previous Hindu nationalist-led government -- was the ninth panel to investigate the killings. Previous investigations, held mostly during Congress party rule, made little progress. Those being investigated held senior party positions. /// Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. /// ............................000000000