In a letter to jathedar (chief) Gurcharan Singh of the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who is half Sikh from his mother’s side, has pleaded his innocence in the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in various parts of the India in which thousands of Sikhs were murdered. Along with the letter, the megastar has enclosed some photographs to highlight his family’s Sikh background.
AMRITSAR – Taking a note of allegations of provoking massacre of Sikhs in 1984 levelled against him, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has written a letter to the Akal Takht Jathedar, pleading his innocence in the matter.
Thousands of Sikhs were murdered across India by Congress party led Hindu mobs following the assassination of PM Indira Gandhi.
In a letter to jathedar (chief) Gurcharan Singh of the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion, Bachchan stated that he had no role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The letter was delivered to the Akal Takht head by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member from Mumbai, Gurinder Singh Bawa.
Talking to reporters on Thursday, the Akal Takht jathedar said that he had received the letter from Bachchan, who said that he had not instigated anyone to indulge in violence against Sikhs.
The Jathedar said Amitabh’s letter will come up for discussion at a meeting of Sikh high priests on December 5. Bachchan had handed over his letter, addressed to the Jathedar, to Bawa who is an SGPC member from Mumbai at the latter’s residence on November 28.
Along with the letter, the megastar has enclosed some photographs to highlight his family’s Sikh background. Sharing the contents of the letter, the Jathedar said Bachchan had written that he too was associated with Sikhism as his mother, Teji Bachchan, belonged to a Sikh family.
To corroborate his point, the actor has also attached the photograph of his mother Teji Bachchan and maternal grandfather Saudagar Singh, who was a “keshdhari” Sikh.
Bachchan said his family also believed in Sikhism. He dubbed the allegations against him of provoking violence as “baseless”, adding that such charges have hurt his sentiments. He admitted he had been close to the Gandhi family and had been sharing their joys and sorrows. He, however, clarified that he was in no way involved in any activity like inciting violence against the Sikhs.
The issue regarding Bachchan’s alleged role in provoking violence had come to the fore prior to the recent inauguration of “Virasat-e-Khalsa” at Anandpur Sahib. Various Sikh organisations had lodged a protest against the state government’s plan to invite the superstar to the event. Later, the Akal Takht Jathedar doused the protests by stating that no film star had been invited to the inaugural ceremony.
Meanwhile, in view of these developments, the Jathedar said they would also give a chance to the Sikh organisations, which were levelling charges against Bachchan, to present their case before reaching a decision in that regard.
Nearly 7,000 Sikhs were killed in the 1984 massacre in various parts of the country following the assassination of the then prime minister India Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards in New Delhi Oct 31, 1984.
Bachchan was very close to the Gandhi family at time and particularly to Indira Gandhi’s son, Rajiv Gandhi, who had recruited the then top Bollywood star to join politics. Bachchan later had a falling out with the Gandhi family.