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1984 anti-Sikh riots: Court verdict on Sajjan Kumar, 5 others today

Apr 30, 2013 08:24 AM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: Nearly three decades after 2,500 Sikhs were killed in the 1984 riots, a Delhi court will on Tuesday pronounce its verdict on the role of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and five others in the killing of Sikhs. The case against Sajjan Kumar was opened on the recommendation of the Nanavati Commission.

Sajjan Kumar has maintained a stoic silence on his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. In the past 29 years, the Congress leader has never spoken to the media about the allegations levelled against him.

But now a Delhi court is all set to decide his fate for the murder of five Sikhs in the Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984 following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.

The CBI has told the court that Sajjan Kumar visited the Raj Nagar area on the night of November 1, 1984 and he was seen supervising the violence, instigating the mobs and in the words of key witnesses, telling rioters not to spare anyone who gave shelter to a Sikh.

The CBI also said that the conspiracy between Sajjan Kumar and the Delhi Police was of alarming proportions. The agency maintains that contrary to the fact that a large number of Sikhs were killed in the Delhi Cantonment area, the police records suggest there was total normalcy. "CBI in its arguments has told the court that Delhi Police's witnesses should not be relied upon. The Delhi Police had been involved in shielding Sajjan Kumar," lawyer HS Phoolka said.

It was on the recommendation of the Nanavati Commission in 2005 that the probe was transferred to the CBI and FIRs were registered against Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler. Before this, the two had never been chargesheeted by the Delhi Police. The CBI has relied heavily on the testimony of key witness Jagdish Kaur who claims she clearly remembers Sajjan Kumar inciting mobs in the area.

If convicted for murder, Sajjan Kumar could even be awarded a death sentence by the court, something that will be very embarrassing for the Congress party. For the 1984 victims, this verdict may bring some relief and closure.

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