(Sikh minority representatives stand in front of the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva November 1, 2013 afater representatives of several NGOs have urged the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to recognize the 1984 killing of Sikhs as genocide. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

India’s opposition criticized ruling party leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday for avoiding any expression of regret for the killings of Sikhs in riots three decades ago, a sensitive issue that threatens to dog him in a tight election due by May.

Gandhi said the government led by his Congress party did everything it could to control the violence against minority Sikhs in retaliation for the assassination of his grandmother, then prime minister Indira Gandhi, by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the riots and rights activists accuse the Congress of having turned a blind eye and say some of its leaders helped orchestrate the violence.

“It is tragic that so many died but there is no tribute, no remorse, no apology,” said Prakash Singh Badal, the chief minister of Sikh-dominated Punjab state whose party is a member of the main opposition alliance.