Here is a list of prominent politicians, all from the Congress, accused of leading or inciting mobs to massacre Sikhs following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the hands of her guards who happened to be Sikhs
New Delhi: Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who was accused of killing five members of a Sikh family during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Monday by the Delhi high court.
While overturning a lower court’s judgment which acquitted Kumar, the High Court said, “1984 riots were a crime against humanity. Need to assure the countless victims that truth will prevail.”
Earlier, five others involved in the case were convicted and given sentences.
Here is a list of prominent politicians, all from the Congress, accused of leading or inciting mobs to massacre Sikhs following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the hands of her guards who happened to be Sikhs:
HKL Bhagat, whose name appeared repeatedly in the inquiries into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, was put on trial in 1996. Though he denied any involvement in the riots, several victims testified against him and accused him of leading groups of armed attackers and inciting them. Specifically, two women, Satnami Bai and Darshan Kaur, said that their husbands were killed by people incited by Bhagat.
India's laggard justice delivery system ensured that the cases against Bhagat could not reach their legal conclusion. He was a free man until he died in 2005 following prolonged illness. Other than the decline in his career post-1991 due to his anti-Sikh credentials, he hardly suffered the consequences of rioting. Due to his Alzheimer's Disease, he might well have not even recalled the horror of 1984, of which he was an alleged perpetrator, towards the end of his life.
Congress leader Kamal Nath, who is the chief minister-designate of Madhya Pradesh, was accused of leading attackers during the riot. A senior journalist who was working with a leading newspaper claimed to have seen Nath controlling the rioting mob at the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib.
A confidante of Sanjay Gandhi during the 1970s, Nath probably carried on with his belligerent streak even after the death of his friend from the dynasty. He denies he was involved in the rioting near Gurdwara Rakab Ganj in early November 1984.
Jagdish Tytler was accused of killing three Sikhs outside Gurdwara Gurudwara Pulbangash in his Delhi. Though Tytler denied any of these, he admitted that Rajiv Gandhi and he had taken several rounds of north Delhi to assess the situation.
Nanavati Commission found credible evidence against Tytler. The commission said he 'very probably' had a hand in organising the pogrom against Sikhs.
Tytler had once infamously stated that he was being vilified for a "small number" of Sikh deaths.
Last year, the Delhi high court extended the bail granted to the retired naval officer who was serving a life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case on medical grounds. However, the CBI vehemently opposed it.
"The convict does not deserve any leniency and his application for extension of the suspension of sentence may kindly be summarily dismissed with cost in the interest of justice," the agency said while opposing the bail plea, according to First Post.
In 2010, the bail plea of Girdhari Lal, who was in judicial custody after being arrested by CBI, was allowed by an additional session judge. Lal was another accused who was serving a life sentence.
During the argument, it was pointed out that Lal's name was not taken by the Delhi police when it investigated the case.
Earlier this year, The Delhi high court dismissed former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar’s bail plea on the grounds that he wanted to undergo treatment in a hospital for a hairline fracture on his nose. He was also serving life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
Kishan Khokkar, who was convicted for the offence of rioting only, was sentenced to three years in jail in 2013. However, his sentence was extended from three years to 10 years.
Mahender Yadav also met the same fate as Kishan Khokkar. He was earlier given a 3-year-long jail sentence but later it was extended to 10 years. Yadav was a former legislator.
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Last Updated 2:25 PM IST