1984 anti-Sikh riots: Courts pronounced two verdicts in 10 days
New Delhi, Nov 28: The long arm of the law is catching up with the culprits involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that followed the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi, with two verdicts pronounced in last 10 days which included death penalty to a convict for killing of two men.
In the first verdict on November 20 after the riots-related cases were reopened by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in 2015, a trial court here had awarded capital punishment to Yashpal Singh and life imprisonment to Naresh Sherawat, holding that Singh's offence fell under the "rarest of rare" category warranting the death penalty.
The Delhi Police had closed this case in 1994 for want of evidence. On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court upheld the conviction of 70 out of the 89 people, who were awarded five-year jail term by a trial court, for rioting, burning houses and violation of curfew in Trilok Puri area here during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Of the remaining 19 persons, 16 had died during pendency of their appeal against the trial court's August 27, 1996 decision and the appeals of three others were dismissed after they absconded, the high court noted in its judgement.
In the previous case, the trial court had convicted Singh and Sherawat for killing Hardev Singh and Avtar Singh in Mahipalpur area of South Delhi on November 1, 1984 during the riots that had taken place after Indira Gandhi was assassinated at her residence by the two Sikh bodyguards a day before.
A mob of about 500 persons, led by the two convicts, had encircled the house of the victims and had killed them. It was just one of the may incidents in Delhi which saw around 3,000 people being killed in riots.
In the case before the high court, Justice R K Gauba dismissed the 22-year-old appeals of the convicts and asked them to surrender forthwith to serve their remaining prison terms awarded for rioting, looting and burning houses in various residential blocks of Trilok Puri between October 31, 1984 to November 3, 1984.
The high court said that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, "leaves no room for doubt that riots had broken out in various blocks of Trilok Puri, particularly affecting, very badly, Block no.32 right from the afternoon of October 31, 1984".