Sajjan gets life term in 1984 anti-Sikh riots

New Delhi: Thirty-four years after the gruesome killings, the Delhi High Court on Monday convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in an anti-Sikh riot case of 1984 here and sentenced him to imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life, holding that the violence was a “crime against humanity” engineered by politicians with assistance from police.
Setting aside the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar and five others by a trial court, the court convicted them saying that the “criminals” had escaped prosecution and punishment for over two decades.
“This court is of the view that the mass killings of Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere in November 1984 were in fact ‘crimes against humanity’. They will continue to shock the collective conscience of society for a long time to come,” a bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel said.
“The mass killings of Sikhs between 1st and 4th November, 1984 in Delhi and the rest of the country, engineered by political actors with the assistance of the law enforcement agencies, answer the description of ‘crimes against humanity’ that was acknowledged for the first time in a joint declaration by the governments of Britain, Russia and France on May 28, 1915 against the government of Turkey following the large-scale killing of Armenians by the Kurds and Turks with the assistance and connivance of the Ottoman administration,” the court said.
Recalling the summer of 1947, the court said that “during partition, this country witnessed horrific mass crimes where several lakhs of civilians, including Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus, were massacred”.
Thirty-seven years later, the country was again witness to another enormous human tragedy. Following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister of India,
on October 31 1984 by two of her Sikh bodyguards, a communal
frenzy was unleashed, the court observed. — IANS