1984 Sikh riots: Will friends and family of victims get justice?
Tarique Anwar, Dailybhaskar.com | Nov 04, 2012, 00:18AM IST
New Delhi: Thousands of members of the Sikh community held a protest at Jantar Mantar on Saturday to mark the 28th anniversary of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The protesters submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister's Office to reopen the cases, which were closed by the police without any trial, and constitute fast track courts.
A photo exhibition was also organised displaying a name-list and addresses of 3,000 people, who were killed in the riots.
"Organised mobs led by the then Congress government burnt alive an estimated 7,000 innocent people of the Sikh community. Around 4,000 people were killed in Delhi alone (though the official figure is 3,000 in Delhi). The police actively encouraged the massacre," HS Phoolka, senior advocate and counsel for the 1984 riot victims, told Daily Bhaskar on the sideline of the protest.
Giving details, Phoolka said, "Of the 500 cases registered in the aftermath, 300 have gone for trial. Four cases were transferred to the CBI. There have been convictions in only 12 cases registered by the police."
"Despite so many acquittals, the Delhi Police has filed appeals in just 10 percent of the cases. Even these appeals are yet to be come up for a hearing before the Delhi High Court,” Phoolka said, adding that a majority of those convicted are currently out on bail.
"Three CBI cases allegedly involving Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler are still pending in the trial court,” he said.
"Recording of evidence is yet to begin in one of the four CBI cases against Sajjan Kumar. Another case against him is in the final argument stage. In the third case, Kumar’s acquittal has been challenged in the Delhi High Court," Phoolka said.
All of these cases pertain to murder and promoting enmity between different communities.
Phoolka added that the criminal case against another Congress leader Jagdish Tytler was closed by the trial court after the CBI filed a closure report. "The acquittal has been challenged by the victims, which is still pending before a higher court," he said.
Phoolka further adds, “It is our firm belief that if guilty of 1984 riots had been punished, then the organizers of the subsequent genocides, including those of Gujarat and Assam riots, would have thought a thousand times more before carrying out their heinous acts.”
Writer Jarnail Singh, president of a campaign called 'Forgotten Citizens 1984', said on the occasion, "There should be fast track courts to try these cases. We have been waiting for justice for the past 28 years."
Noted journalist Kuldip Nayar told Daily Bhaskar that "the carnage was a shame on India that cannot be forgotten. Although the Prime Minister has apologised for the riots, but still some human touch should be given to the victims."
Justice Rajinder Sachar said the 1984 riots are a "blot on the country's democracy and at least, truth should come out from an inquiry team set up bu the Supreme Court."