Ahead of Punjab Assembly polls, the Centre has decided to reopen 28 cases relating to 1984 anti-Sikh riots and all these cases will be probed by a Special Investigation Team. The decision has been taken after examining various aspects of the cases, which were either closed or did not proceed further due to lack of evidence.
The SIT set up by the Home Ministry to re-investigate appropriately serious criminal cases filed in the National Capital Territory of Delhi relating to 1984 riots has further identified 28 more cases for further investigation, an official order said. With this, the total number of cases to be re-investigated by the SIT has gone up to 77.
Out of the 650 cases registered in connection with anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, 49 cases were earlier identified for re-investigation by SIT on July 29. A total of 3,325 people were killed in the 1984 riots in which Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths, while the rest occurred in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states. Delhi Police had closed 241 cases citing lack of evidence.
Justice Nanavati Commission had recommended reopening of only four of them but BJP wanted re-investigation of all the cases. The CBI had reopened and re-investigated only four cases. In two of them, the probe agency had filed a charge sheet and in one, five persons, including a former MLA, were convicted.
The SIT was set up on February 12, 2015 following a recommendation by the Home Ministry-appointed Justice (retd) G P Mathur committee. The three-member SIT comprises two Inspector General-rank IPS officers and a judicial officer.
On December 10, 2014, the Narendra Modi government had announced an additional compensation of Rs five lakh to the kin of each of those killed in the 1984 riots, triggered by the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.
In May, the Home Ministry had announced that 1,020 families, which had been hit by the riots and migrated to Punjab from different parts of the country, will be given Rs two lakh each as part of a centrally-sponsored rehabilitation scheme. Assembly elections in Punjab are due early next year and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots often becomes a political issue in the state.
(With PTI inputs)