1984 anti-Sikh riots case: Court reserves judgement


84 riot on shikh

New Delhi, Apr 3 – A Delhi court today reserved its judgement in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and five others are accused.

District Judge J R Aryan fixed the matter for April 16 for clarification, if any, from CBI or the six accused persons after they concluded the final arguments in the case.

“Judgement is reserved. To come up for clarification, if any, on April 16,” the judge said.

Concluding the final arguments, CBI prosecutor D P Singh said that the prosecution has limited itself to what each of the witnesses had seen at the time of the incident.

The witnesses have given honest versions of what they all had seen during the riots, he said, alleging that in all the complaints wherever Kumar’s name had cropped up, it was “immediately eliminated” from the police records.

During the arguments, Kumar’s counsel I U Khan told the court that there were material contradictions in statements of the witnesses, including complainant Jagdish Kaur.

Khan said Kaur had not taken Kumar’s name anywhere in any of her affidavits filed before various judicial commissions, constituted to probe the riots-related cases, till 2010.

“When she (Kaur) appeared in the court in 2010 to record her statement, she gave us a shock by naming Sajjan Kumar for the first time and said something which was not there in the records,” he argued.

Kumar is facing trial along with five others–Balwan Khokkar, Kishan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal – for allegedly inciting a mob against the Sikh community in Delhi Cantonment area.

The case relates to anti-Sikh riots that had broken out after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

During the arguments today, senior advocate H S Phoolka, who is representing the riots victim in the case, said that the crime was committed in broad daylight and the victims have been waiting for justice from nearly 29 years.

Complainant Kaur had lost her husband, a young son and three brothers during the 1984 riots.

The Delhi police had earlier probed the riots cases and the investigation was handed over to CBI in 2005. CBI had earlier told the court there was a conspiracy of “terrifying proportion” between Kumar and the police during the riots.

The agency had said the police had kept its “eyes closed” to the wide-spread violence.

The case against Kumar was registered in 2005 on a recommendation by Justice GT Nanavati Commission. CBI had filed two charge sheets against him and the other accused in January 2010.

The trial court had framed charges against Kumar and the five others under Sections 302 (murder), 395 (dacoity), 427 (mischief to cause damage to property), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities) and other provisions of IPC.

Advocate Khan argued that Kumar’s name was not there in the 23 complaints, received from families of riot victims and gurudwaras, which went missing from the records and this was “strong evidence” to show he was not involved in the riots.

He also said that Kumar’s name was not taken by the witnesses before the Nanavati Commission.

Khan submitted that complainant and eye witness Jagdish Kaur had got several opportunities but she did not name Kumar and his name only came up when she appeared in the court in 2010 to depose in the case.

He contended that she had stated something else before Justice Ranganath Commission and given certain other facts before Nanavati Commission.

Defence counsel Anil Sharma, appearing for other five accused, argued that out of 17 prosecution witnesses, only three had named his clients in the case.

“Out of 35 prosecution witnesses, CBI had examined 17 and only three of them had named Balwan Khokkar, Kishan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal. Why should we believe those three witnesses and not the 14 witnesses who had not named them. CBI cannot pick and choose witnesses,” he said.

Sharma said the prosecution witnesses had given two different versions of the same incident, which cannot be accepted.

Advocate Phoolka, appearing for the victims, argued that there was credible evidence on record in the form of three eyewitnesses and other witnesses and now it was certain that the “cobweb around accused Sajjan Kumar is as strong as the iron rods which he will not be able to break”.

“After a lengthy and tedious exercise of conducting the inquiry, running into over four years, the Nanavati Commission had primarily recommended registration of the cases against two political leaders namely Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, who were largely perceived to have master minded these killings.

“Against Jagdish Tytler, CBI has already filed the closure report and against Sajjan Kumar the present trial is going on,” he said. PTI

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