Punjab CM welcomes Sajjan Kumar’s conviction in 1984 riots case, HC judges make reference to 2002 Gujarat genocide

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Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday welcomed the conviction and the subsequent sentencing of veteran Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

Sajjan Kumar

“Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has welcomed the conviction of Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 riots case, terming it a case of justice finally delivered to the victims of one of the worst instances of communal violence in independent India,” news agency ANI quoted a statement from Chief Minister’s office.

The statement further said that neitehr the Congress party nor the Gandhi family had any role to play in the massacre of Sikhs in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It said, “CM, however, reiterated his stand that neither the Congress party nor the Gandhi family had any role to play in the rioting & lashed out at the Badals for continuing to drag their names into the case at the behest of their political masters – BJP.”

This was after the Delhi High Court on Monday sentenced Kumar to life by reversing the lower court’s order to acquit him in the 1984 riots case. While delivering the judgment, the court said that it was important to assure the victims that truth will prevail despite the challenges.

Kumar has to surrender before 31 December. “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,” news agency ANI quoted the judgement.

The judges also made a reference to 2002 anti-Muslim genocide under the government headed the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi in their judgement. The judgement read, “In India, the riots in early November 1984 in which in Delhi alone 2,733 Sikhs and nearly 3,350 all over the country were brutally murdered (these are official figures) was neither the first instance of a mass crime nor, tragically, the last. The mass killings in Punjab, Delhi and elsewhere during the country’s partition remains a collective painful memory as is the killings of innocent Sikhs in November 1984. There has been a familiar pattern of mass killings in Mumbai in 1993, in Gujarat in 2002, in Kandhamal, Odisha in 2008 and in Muzaffarnagar in UP in 2013 to name a few.”

In October, according to news agency IANS, the High Court had reserved its order on the pleas challenging that trial court judgement on Sajjan Kumar but convicted the other five accused in the case related to the killing of five people in Delhi Cantonment area following the assassination of Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

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