New Delhi: Thirty years after the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, the Centre on Sunday gave indications that it may soon appoint a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the same - a move ridiculed by Congress and AAP as an 'electoral ploy' by the BJP to woo voters ahead of polls in Delhi.
It was reported that a committee headed by former Supreme Court Judge Justice (retd) GP Mathur, which was set up on December 23 last year to look into the possibility of re-investigation of the 1984 riots, had submitted its report to Home Minister Rajnath Singh last week, as per the PTI.
It has recommended setting up of an SIT for a fresh probe into the riots that followed assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, the sources said.
An order to this effect is likely after the February 7 Delhi Assembly polls as the Model Code of Conduct is in place in the national capital now and no such announcement can be made, the sources said.
The move was seen by the opposition as an attempt to woo Sikh voters in the upcoming polls.
Reacting to the development, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said, “The riots called for deep analysis and research. The Aam Aadmi Party had formed a SIT but as soon as our government was removed from power, the Union government put the idea in cold storage."
His party colleague HS Phoolka called the timing "highly suspicious". "Just a week before election, a leak has come in the media. This is very unfortunate. It is a joke in the riot victims," he said.
"Why raise the issue just four-five days prior to elections? Is this an electoral ploy? Justice cannot be an electoral game," said Haryana's Congress legislator Randeep Singh Surjewala. Also, "any injustice done in Gujarat, Muzaffarnagar, should all be investigated and (the guilty) brought to book," he added.
However, Akali Dal leader and Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Committee chief Manjit Singh GK welcomed the move and said the SIT should be set up at the earliest.
Manjit Singh, who took a delegation to meet the Home Minister, said Rajnath Singh had assured them that justice will be done.
"Akali Dal has been fighting for a long time for justice for the 1984 riots and now we are thankful to the Prime Minister who created this committee... I think, now the government should not waste any time and should constitute an SIT so that justice is delivered because it has been delayed for over 30 years," he said.
BJP had earlier demanded re-investigation into all anti-Sikh riot cases.
The Justice Nanavati Commission had recommended reopening of only four of the 241 cases closed by police but BJP wanted the re-investigation of all the other 237 cases.
However, it was not immediately clear as to how many anti-Sikh riot cases have been recommended for reopening by the Justice Mathur committee.
Of the 241 related cases, only four were reopened and re-investigated by CBI. In two of the cases, CBI had filed a charge sheet and in one of the cases five persons, including a former MLA, were convicted.
On December 10, 2014, the government had approved a proposal to give an additional compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The compensation to the families of the riot victims will be in addition to what they have already received from the government and other agencies.
The fresh compensation will cost the exchequer Rs 166 crore.
According to government data, 3,325 people were killed in the riots. Of them, Delhi accounted for 2,733. Rest were killed in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states.