New Delhi: As Kamal Nath emerged frontrunner for the post of Madhya Pradesh chief minister, a Shiromani Akali Dal leader on Thursday accused the Congress leadership of "protecting the perpetrators" of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

After the formation of an SIT by the Narendra Modi government to investigate the pogrom anew, HS Phoolka, the Supreme Court advocate fighting these cases, had said in January that the law will now soon catch up “powerful and influential people like Congress leader Kamal Nath”.

"Seeing the strong evidence against him, we are now hopeful that he (Kamal Nath) will too will be caught. All Congress leaders including Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Singh and Kamal Nath cannot evade law now,” Phoolka had said at the press conference.

Now, the Akali Dal alleges that Nath had a hand in the anti-Sikh riots that broke out in the national capital following the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984.

"Whenever the Gandhi family comes to power, it protects the perpetrators of the 1984 riots. Now Rahul Gandhi and the Gandhi family are rewarding Kamal Nath as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh...," Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa told reporters.
"Rahul Gandhi wants to give a message that those involved in the killings of Sikhs in 1984 now need not worry... that they are behind them and will reward them instead," he added.

The Akali Dal is seeking to stymie Nath's elevation as chief minister by raising the issue of his alleged involvement in the anti-Sikh riots.
Sirsa said Sikhs are peace-loving people, but will give a befitting reply to the Gandhi family. They will build public anger if the Gandhis go ahead with the decision of appointing Nath as the chief minister, he added.

A section of Sikhs had raised objections when Nath was appointed general secretary in-charge of Punjab and Haryana.

While Nath continued to hold the post of AICC general secretary for Haryana affairs, he was replaced in Punjab.

(With inputs from PTI)