Bringing to justice the first-ever senior Congress functionary for his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Delhi High Court convicted former MP Sajjan Kumar life term on Monday. The HS found him guilty of criminal conspiracy to murder five people of the minority community and sentencing him to imprisonment for the rest of his natural life.
Sajjan Kumar, 73, has been ordered to surrender by December 31, failing which he would be taken into custody. He also cannot leave Delhi.
Reversing Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal by Delhi’s Karkardooma Courts on April 30, 2013, in the case pertaining to the killing of five members of a Sikh family in Delhi Cantonment’s Raj Nagar on November 1 and 2, 1984, the HC said the trial court failed to address the charges of criminal conspiracy against Sajjan Kumar.
The trial court completely omitted to address this charge of criminal conspiracy. The acquittal of Sajjan Kumar is set aside. He is convicted for criminal conspiracy, for abetting the commission of armed rioting and murders and for the offense of delivering provocative speeches instigating violence against Sikhs.
As soon as the Bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel concluded delivering the sentence in a packed courtroom 3, riot survivors Jagdish Kaur, her cousin Jagsher Singh and another survivor Nirpreet Kaur broke down.
Jagdish Kaur, 77, principal complainant, lost her husband Kehar Singh, 18-year-old son Gurpreet Singh and three cousins on November 1 and 2, 1984, in the killings the HC today equated with ‘Partition massacres’. The court went many steps further to call Sikh murders of 1984 crimes against humanity.
Criminal faces counter for the first time in 24 years
Noting that the attackers adopted a two-pronged strategy in the wake of former PM Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984, the HC said, ‘The first strategy was to liquidate all Sikh males and the other was to destroy houses, leaving the women and children utterly destitute.
For the first time, any court hearing an anti-Sikh riot case acknowledged that the perpetrators of 1984 massacres enjoyed political backing and escaped trial.
While legal counsel for the CBI and victims, as also 1984 riot survivors hailed today’s judgment as a milestone in their journey to justice, the court saluted the courage of the three witnesses who made the conviction of Sajjan Kumar possible.
‘It was going to be impossible to proceed against the accused in the normal scheme of things as there appeared large-scale efforts to suppress the cases against him by not even recording or registering them… But the witnesses were fearless and truthful.’ the judges said.
The judges severely indicting Delhi Police for failure to investigate the crimes and for actively conniving in the brutal murders.