New Delhi: Seeking to put behind memories of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said the country has moved on since the ‘tragic incident’ and that it was time to ‘forgive’ and build a new India.

“It is time that we forgive and move on to build a new India where every citizen irrespective of faith has equal place," he said, addressing a function to felicitate him for his role in removing names of 142 Sikhs from a 'Black list'.

Recalling the tragic incidents in 1984 after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards, Chidambaram said the country has moved on since then and one small step of removing names of large number of Sikhs from the 'Black list' was left which has been addressed by the government recently.

"We have moved on when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister, we have moved on subsequently, we have moved on when Manmohan Singh made that poignant speech asking for forgiveness, we moved on since Sonia Gandhi became Congress president," he said.

The Home Minister was referring to Singh's speech in Parliament in 2005 where he apologised to the Sikh community for the incident.

"One small step had remained and that is to remove the names of large number of names from what is called Black List. I am happy that I played a small and humble part in removing 142 names from the Black List," the Home Minister said.

In a significant decision, the government had removed from its "blacklist" the names of 142 wanted terrorists and their associates, including the heads of various Sikh extremist groups.

Noting that government would initiate all possible steps to address grievances of the Sikh community, Chidambaram said government would issue orders "shortly" to help the Sikhs who have returned from Afghanistan following violence in the neighbouring country.