1984 anti-Sikh riots: Sajjan Kumar moves Supreme Court against life-sentence
Less than a week after the Delhi High Court handed him a life sentence for his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar has moved the Supreme Court challenging his conviction and life term. Kumar's move to appeal to the SC comes a day after the Delhi HC refused to give him more time to surrender. Here are the details.
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots killed thousands of Sikhs
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots resulted in the deaths of around 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi, according to official figures. The riots broke out in the aftermath of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination, when mobs led by Congress leaders targeted Sikhs in the capital.
The Delhi HC had sentenced Kumar on Monday
On Monday, the Delhi High Court overturned a lower court order that had acquitted Kumar, and sentenced the 73-year-old to imprisonment for the remainder of his life. Kumar was convicted by a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel, who gave him time till December 31 to surrender. During the sentencing, the HC observed that Kumar had escaped justice earlier owing to "political patronage".
The killings Kumar had been involved in
Kumar was sentenced by the Delhi High Court owing to his involvement in the killing of five members of a Sikh family in Raj Nagar, and in the torching of a gurdwara in Delhi on November 1, 1984.
Kumar had appealed to the HC for an extension
Subsequently, Kumar appealed to the Delhi HC, asking for more time to surrender. The former Congress leader had appealed to the court to give him till January 30, but the Delhi HC, on Friday, dismissed his plea. Kumar had asked for more time as he wanted to settle matters related to his property, but the court saw no reason to give him relief.
The victims have filed a caveat in the SC
Although Kumar has moved the Supreme Court now and has challenged the Delhi High Court's verdict, the victims of the riots aren't ready to allow Kumar a chance. Senior advocate H S Phoolka, who is representing the victims of the riots, told news agency PTI that the victims had already filed a caveat to pre-empt any ex-parte hearing in Kumar's favour in the SC.