Delhi High Court finds Sajjan Kumar guilty in 1984 anti-Sikh riots, sentences life imprisonment

The Delhi High Court has sentenced senior Congress leader and former MLA, Sajjan Kumar for life imprisonment after finding him guilty in 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Priviously, a trial court had acquitted Kumar of all charges. But now the Delhi HC has reversed the previous verdict of the lower court.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel convicted Kumar for criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity and acts against communal harmony. The probe was carried out by the CBI which re-opened the case on recommendation of Nanavati Commission in 2005.

The high court said Kumar’s life imprisonment will be for the remainder of his life and asked him to surrender by December 31. It also asked him not to leave Delhi before that.

Cham Kaur, a prosecution witness, told the court that in 1984 she had seen Kumar allegedly addressing the crowd in national capital’s Sultanpuri area where he said that Sikhs had killed “our mother”, reference made to former PM Indira Gandhi.

“It is important to assure the victims that despite the challenges truth will prevail,” the High Court said, referring to the courage of Jagdish Kaur, the victim who had fought for action against Sajjan Kumar and others. “The aftershock of those atrocities is still being felt,” said the court.

“Criminals have enjoyed political patronage,” the court noted, also saying there was “abject police failure” as the police failed to act against the inability of the victims to file complaints. A former Congress councillor, Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal and three others were held guilty in the Raj Nagar case, earlier by the trial court. Nirlep Kaur, who saw her father being burnt alive by the mobs, wept as she thanked the law for justice after 34 years.

Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, said he welcomed the verdict and “it has been a very long and painful wait for innocent victims who were murdered by those in power”. He said: “Nobody involved in any riot should be allowed to escape no matter how powerful the individual maybe.”