This is the most comprehensive coverage of the case of the twin murder of Hardev Singh and Avtar Singh on November 1, 1984. Naresh Sehrawat and Avtar Singh have been convicted of murder, attempt to murder, looting, arson and crimes under other IPC Sections, but not sentenced yet.
New Delhi: After finding the accused Naresh Sehrawat and Avtar Singh guilty of murder, attempt to murder, looting, arson and crimes under other Sections committed during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the court in Delhi has reserved the pronouncement of their sentence.
The court will pronounce the verdict on November 20. During arguments over the sentence, the victim's lawyer demanded that the convicted be sentenced to death for the murder of Hardev Singh and Avtar Singh on November 1. He said that the way in which the convicts killed innocent people belongs to the category of a pogrom because the incident had been executed with full planning.
The prosecution demanded that the SHO of Mehrauli of the time, SK Malik, be made an accused, too.
Advocate HS Phoolka, representing the victims, demanded the hanging of the convicts, too. The defence lawyers pleaded for lesser punishment. The defence argued that the accused was not well heard nor the evidence the side presented taken into consideration.
The lawyer of the accused, raising questions on the investigation, said, while it is wrong to loot somebody's shop, there is no evidence the accused used to live in Mahipalpur in 1984. There is no evidence they murdered the victims either, the defence argued.
In Delhi alone, 2,700 people were killed in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom.
After the hearing, the families of the victims attacked the convicts and beat them up. The police intervened and took the convicts to safety.
Naresh Sehrawat is very sick, his lawyer pleaded, adding the convict was 68 years old, suffering from a liver disease. Therefore, the defence said, the punishment should be lesser.
The court is yet to decide how much compensation the victims should be given. This is the first conviction since the SIT on the pogrom of 1984 was formed after Narendra Modi-led NDA came to power in 2014. Home minister Rajnath Singh had constituted this SIT to investigate five cases out of many instances of murder, plunder and mayhem in the anti-Sikh pogrom that followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Charge sheets were filed in all these cases.
Additional Judge of Patiala House Court Ajay Pandey pronounced the verdict on Wednesday. The court said it was clear from the statements of witnesses and documentary evidence that both the guilty were involved in the pogrom, looting and murder in the area. They not only targeted innocent people but also set their homes on fire and killed innocent people while burning the dead bodies to obliterate evidence, the court observed.
The case was registered on the complaint of a victim’s brother Santosh Singh. Delhi Police had stopped the investigation in 1994 due to lack of evidence. The SIT filed a fresh charge sheet after investigating the case.
There is a provision of the death penalty or life imprisonment for convicts in a murder case. The Special Investigation Team alleged that Naresh and Yashpal had murdered two people in Mahipalpur on November 1, 1984, and left three people in a critical condition as they thought they were dead.
The SIT had presented Trilok Singh, Sangat Singh and Kuldeep Singh as witnesses in the court. The court ruled that their testimonies were trustworthy.
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Last Updated Nov 16, 2018, 4:43 PM IST