1984 anti-Sikh riots: Life term to three accused, three years to two others

A Delhi court handed down life term to three accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was acquitted.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: A Delhi court handed down life term to three accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case for being a part of the mob that killed five Sikhs here in which Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was acquitted.

Those who have been given life term are Captain Bhagmal, Balwan Khokhar and Girdhari Lal. Two others, Mahender Yadav, Kishan Khokhar have been given a three year jail term.

District Judge JR Aryan, who was scheduled to hear the arguments on point of sentence in the case on May 6 had deferred the matter for May 9 after CBI prosecutor, senior advocate R S Cheema, expressed his inability to appear before it on the earlier date.

Sajjan Kumar was given benefit of doubt by the court, which said one of the victims and key witness Jagdish Kaur did not name him as an accused in her statement recorded by the Justice Ranganath Mishra panel in 1985.

While acquitting Kumar, the other five accused - Balwan Khokkar, an ex-councillor, Mahender Yadav, an ex-MLA, Kishan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal - were held guilty on April 30 for the offences including murder, rioting and unlawful assembly by the armed rioters.

The judge in his verdict had said it has been proved that the convicts are guilty of rioting, armed with deadly weapons and unlawful assembly on November 1, 1984 at around 7.30 pm near Gurudwara Raj Nagar.

The court had also said it has been proved that there was a rioting mob, including the convicts, and they were armed with weapons like lathis and rods and they did indulge in violence.

The court had added that Jagdish Kaur`s testimony was "believable and acceptable" that on November 2, 1984, Girdhari and Bhagmal were part of the rioting mob when the mob had assaulted and killed victim Narender Pal Singh.

The court, however, had said that the testimony of Kaur that she had seen Kumar instigating a mob with his provocative speech was "not acceptable and believable".

The case relates to anti-Sikh riots that had broken out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. Gandhi was shot dead by two of her bodyguards at her residence here.

The case, in which these five persons were held guilty, deals with the death of five Sikhs -- Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh -- who were members of the same family and were killed by the mob in Delhi Cantonment`s Raj Nagar area.
Deceased Kehar and Gurpreet were the husband and son respectively of complainant and eye witness Jagdish Kaur while Raghuvender, Narender and Kuldeep were the brothers of Kaur and another witness Jagsher Singh.

The case against Kumar and others was registered in 2005 on a recommendation by Justice GT Nanavati Commission. CBI had filed two charge sheets against him and the other accused in January 2010.

The trial court had in May 2010 framed charges against Kumar and the five others under Sections 302 (murder), 395 (dacoity), 427 (mischief to cause damage to property), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and other provisions of the IPC.
Maenwhile Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to press for a Supreme Court-monitored SIT probe into the case.

Over 200 Sikhs on Monday staged a protest near Parliament blocking traffic for about an hour against the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 riots case and demanding capital punishment for him.

Sikh groups have been demanding capital punishment for Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 riots case.

Holding placards and shouting slogans against Congress, the protesters, including women, squatted at Vijay Chowk which is just a few metres away from Parliament House where a large number of police personnel

With PTI inputs