1984 anti-Sikh riots: Congress leader Sajjan Kumar gets life term
The Delhi High Court on Monday overturned a lower court's order which acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar for his involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and sentenced him to life imprisonment. He has been asked to surrender by December 31. He was convicted by a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel. Earlier, the trial court had acquitted Kumar but convicted five others.
Five members of same family were killed
Kumar and five others were accused in the murder of five Sikhs- Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh in Delhi Cantonment's Raj Nagar area. They all belonged to the same family and were murdered on November 1, 1984. The others who were convicted are former Congress councilor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and two others.
HC speaks about partition while delivering judgment
The bench in its judgment condemned the killings and spoke about the partition. "In the summer of 1947, during partition, several people were massacred. 37 years later Delhi was the witness of a similar tragedy. The accused enjoyed political patronage and escaped trial," the court said. The court charged Kumar for murder, promoting enmity between groups and defiling public property.
BJP leader Ram Madhav welcomes judgment, congratulates Rajnath Singh
Earlier, court upheld conviction of 88 accused
Notably, last month the same court had also upheld the conviction of 88 in the riots. The accused were convicted by a sessions court in 1996 and had moved the HC against it. 22 years later, the HC didn't change the verdict and asked them to surrender soon. The court lamented that so many people died but no one was charged with murder.
Families get justice after decades
Context: Indira Gandhi's death led to murders of innocent Sikhs
To recall, after Indira Gandhi was murdered, riots broke out in the national capital. While official records claimed 2,800 Sikhs died in India (out of which 2100 were in Delhi), other reports painted a different picture. It is suggested that nearly 8,000 Sikhs lost their lives in the state-sponsored violence. 3,000 Sikhs were massacred in Delhi alone. Nearly, 20,000 Sikhs fled Delhi in fear.
SIT was formed in 2015 to investigate closed cases
A report of CBI claimed Delhi police and other central agencies facilitated the violence. In 2015, the BJP-led Centre constituted an SIT to investigate the 220-plus closed cases with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh calling it 'genocide'. The decision, to form SIT, was taken after a panel headed by Justice (retired) GP Mathur said that despite the violence, numerous cases were closed.
Once RaGa admitted Congress was involved, then took U-turn
Among the 225 cases, there were few against Congress leaders. In the run-up for 2014 elections, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had said some members of his party might have been involved in the violence. However, he took a U-turn in London in August this year and said no Congressmen were involved in it, sparking a fresh controversy.