The Delhi High Court on Monday convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in relation to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that followed the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. 73-year-old Kumar who is sentenced to life imprisonment under Section 120B r/w Sections 302, 436, 295, 153A and 153B of the Indian Penal Code has to surrender in court by December 31.
In May 2013, a trial court had found former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal and former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar guilty of murdering five members of a Sikh family in Raj Nagar area, Delhi, on November 1, 1984, a day after the assassination. Balwan Khokhar and Bhagmal were given life sentences. But due to lack of corroborative evidence to support the charges framed against Sajjan Kumar, he was not found guilty.
How the case opened up again?
The conviction was challenged before the High Court in May 2013. The Agency and the victims also appealed against the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar. CBI was represented by Special Public Prosecutor Senior Advocate RS Cheema. The complainant, Jagdish Kaur, was represented by Senior Advocate HS Phoolka.
According to a report by the Scroll, a prosecution witness identified Kumar in November was one amongst the people who allegedly instigated a mob in Delhi to kill Sikhs. She stated in the court that she had seen Kumar addressing a crowd on November 1, 1984, telling them to kill Sikhs as “they had killed our mother”. The woman’s son and father died the next day of the incident, she claimed, as she identified Kumar, who was present in the court.
What the Delhi High Court has to say?
“It is important to assure the victims that despite the challenges truth will prevail,” the High Court said, giving a shout-out to victims like Jagdish Kaur and Nirpreet Kaur, who fought for justice for 34 years and suffered intimidation and harassment. “The aftershock of those atrocities is still being felt,” said the court as per reports.
“In the summer of 1947, during partition, this country witnessed horrific mass crimes where several lakhs of civilians, including Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus were massacred,” said Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel.
“Thirty-seven years later, the country again witnessed to another enormous human tragedy… For four days between November 1 to November 4 of that year, all over Delhi, 2,733 Sikhs were brutally murdered. Their houses were destroyed. In the rest of the country too, thousands of Sikhs were killed,” the court said in a 203-page order.
Justice might get delayed, but it cannot be denied. This was a struggle for the ones seeking it, and the accused who have been enjoying behind their masks, the time to serve their punishment has arrived.