By Sushil Batra
New Delhi [India], October 9 (ANI): Calling former Union Minister late Ram Vilas Paswan a great human being, senior advocate and Padam Shri awardee HS Phoolka on Friday remembered Paswan and said that his house was burnt during the 1984 riots as he gave shelter to Sikhs.
Paying tribute to the late LJP leader, Phoolka, who has fought a long legal battle for the victims of the 1984 Sikh riots, said that Paswan saved several Sikhs during the 1984 riots. "For that, a mob attacked his house, he had to jump the rear wall to save his own life. He played a key role in defusing the tense situation during that time," he said.
Ram Vilas Paswan, one of the tallest Dalit leaders in Bihar and founder of the Lok Janshakti Party, passed away at the age of 74 on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president JP Nadda, and several senior leaders paid tribute to the late leader at his residence today.
Phoolka said Paswan also cooperated during the investigation and filed an affidavit before the Nanwati Commission over the riots.
Phoolka also said Paswan, in his affidavit, mentioned how he saved the life of a Sikh man during the violence.
The affidavit said, "He stated that one Sardarji who was hiding somewhere was beaten mercilessly by a mob. He fled from that place and had sought refuge in my residence. He was an old man badly wounded. The mob followed him to my residence but the guards at the gate closed the gates. He was offered water. I rang up the Parliament Street Police Station many times but there was no response. Even calling Number 100 did not bring forth any result. Then, I again rang up the Home Minister at about 3 pm, narrated the entire incident to his private secretary and he assured that the police will come soon. But nobody came."
The affidavit said that sometime later, the mob surrounded the residence of Paswan from all sides. "My bodyguard Joginder Prasad Singh and Mahinder Betha know many faces in the mob and can appear as a witness if and when required. The mob was shouting anti-Sikh slogans. Apprehending more trouble, my Bodyguard fired in the air to scare the unlawful assembly. But as the mob highly outnumbered all of us, it broke open the gate, set fire to the garage in my house and also set fire to a Bihar Bhawan car parked there," the affidavit said.
"They entered the rooms also. We managed to save our lives by escaping through the servant quarters situated at the rear wall of the house. Then they caught hold of the injured old Sardarji who could not run along with us and threw him alive in the burning garage, where he was roasted alive," it added.
The affidavit said that on the morning of November 1, 1984, Paswan along with Karpoori Thakur, Devi Lal and KR Arya held a meeting at the residence of Chowdhary Charan Singh to take stock of the situation and take remedial measures to diffuse the tension.
"We went in a car to Tilak Nagar to assess the whole situation. On the way, our vehicle was stopped at many places by mobs gathered there. They let us go only after ensuring that there was no Sikh with us. We saw that there was smoke everywhere and there were many groups of miscreants standing at many places. We returned to the residence of Chowdhary Charan Singh at about noon-time," Paswan had said in the affidavit.
"On November 1, 1984, I also went to meet Gyani Zail Singh, the then President of India at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Chowdhary Charan Singh, Karpoori Thakur and Sharad Yadav were also with me. We explained to him that Delhi was burning and there no police administration worth name existing. We told him that at many places the police did not take any action when the unruly people indulged in the illegal act of violence, arson and murder, etc," it added. (ANI)