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    1984 anti-Sikh riots: Sajjan Kumar will stay in jail for life, to surrender by Dec 31

    By Simran Kashyap
    |

    New Delhi, Dec 17: The Delhi High Court has convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. The HC awarded a life sentence to Kumar.

    The court observed, "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."

    Sajjan Kumar

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

    The Bench held Kumar guilty of abetment, delivering speeches instigating violence against Sikhs and disrupting communal harmony.

    The court said the life sentence awarded to the Congress leader would be for the "remainder of his life" and directed him to surrender by December 31. The bench also said Kumar will not leave the city of Delhi from now till December 31.

    The court said it has partially allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation's appeal against Kumar's acquittal by the trial court in a case related to the murder of five members of a Sikh family - Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh -in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984, after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

    In the same case, the court upheld the convictions of Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar. They were also convicted for criminal conspiracy to burn down residences of Sikh families and a gurdwara in the area during the riots.

    The court also directed them to surrender by December 31 and not leave the city before that.
    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 judgment.

    Former Congress councilor 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 were 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".

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