On the long-standing case of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Delhi High Court will deliver its judgment on Monday on the appeals challenging the trial court’s acquittal verdict of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar.
A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel had concluded hearing arguments on the appeals filed by the CBI, riot survivors, and convicts.
November saw significant developments related to the horrific rioting that had broken out in 1984 following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in which over 3000 people, mostly from the Sikh community, were killed.
• On November 20, the first death penalty was awarded in the matter, to Yashpal Singh for the slaughter two men in the riots.
• On November 28, the Delhi High Court had dismissed 23 review pleas filed by more than 88 accused persons against their conviction by a sessions court in the riots cases.
• Crucially, also in November, Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was identified and named by a victim, named Cham Kaur in the riots case at a hearing in the Patiala House Court.
Detailing the dismissal of the 23 review plea, Counsel HS Phoolka at the Delhi High Court said, "Today Delhi High Court has given out a big statement in regards to the anti-Sikh riots, dismissing the pleas of the 88 people accused. They have given out of a message saying that the convicts will be punished. In the anti-Sikh riot case, 95 dead bodies were recovered but the Section 302 for the murder charge was not evoked. Out of 95, 22 dead bodies have still not been identified and investigations are still going on. Today, the judge has directed the police forces to further investigate and identify those dead bodies, further urging him to file required charges."
Speaking to Republic TV, Akali Dal leader Manjinder Sirsa, lawyer of the 1984 victims HS Phoolka and a victim Atma Singh, expressing their opinion found Sajjan Kumar guilty. The victim and Phoolka, both expressed that they were hopeful of the verdict to be announced on December 17.
Manjinder Sirsa said, “Sajjan Kumar is present in all the incidences that happen in West Delhi and outer Delhi. One thing is clear that all prominent leaders of Congress were there and instigating the violence and killing innocent people.”
HS Phoolka, said, “There were three eyewitnesses have identified Sajjan Kumar. One of the witness has lost her husband and she was very much there. The second witness lost three brothers.”
Atma Singh, 1984 riot said, “The CBI has filed the case very well. I am very hopeful of the verdict tomorrow as the government has changed, and the attitude of the judges has also changed. This is a murder of thousand Sikhs, not just five. Sajjan Kumar has killed almost 2 thousand people, he is a criminal.”
The CBI has also filed an appeal, challenging the acquittal of Kumar and claimed that the trial court “erred in acquitting Sajjan Kumar as it was he who had instigated the mob during the riots".
On the recommendation of Justice GT Nanavati Commission, the case against Sajjan Kumar and other accused was filed in 2005.