1984 anti-Sikh riots: Congress leader Sajjan Kumar sentenced to life imprisonment

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 17, 2018, 10.50 AM(IST)

File photo: Congress leader Sajjan Kumar. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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Sajjan Kumar has been sentenced to life imprisonment. He has to surrender by December 31, 2018.

The Delhi High Court on Monday convicted senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

Sajjan Kumar has been sentenced to life imprisonment. He has to surrender by December 31, 2018.

The order was passed while reversing the verdict of the trial court which had acquitted Kumar.

"In the summer of 1947, during partition, several people were massacred. 37 years later Delhi was the witness of a similar tragedy. The accused enjoyed political patronage and escaped trial," said Delhi High Court while reading the judgement.

Besides Congress' Sajjan Kumar, Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar have been sentenced to life imprisonment. Kishan Khokkar and former legislator Mahender Yadav have been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel had on October 29 concluded hearing arguments on the appeals filed by the CBI, riots victims and the convicts, and reserved the judgement.

Former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and two others were held guilty in the case relating to the murder of five members of a family in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984 after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

The trial court had acquitted Sajjan Kumar in the case, but awarded life term to Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal, and a three-year jail term to two others - former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

The convicts had challenged their conviction and sentencing by the trial court in May 2013. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had also filed an appeal, alleging they were engaged in “a planned communal riot” and “religious cleansing”. The agency and the victims have also appealed against the acquittal of Kumar.

The high court had on March 29 last year issued show cause notices to 11 accused, including Khokhar and Yadav, in five 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases which were earlier closed. The matter is being heard by another division bench.

The accused, who was acquitted of the charges, were asked as to why should the court not order reinvestigation and retrial against them as they faced allegations of “horrifying crimes against humanity”. 

(With inputs from PTI)