1984 carnage - 5 convicted, main accused Sajjan Kumar acquitted
Those keen on reducing communal bias to a partisan dimension may kindly remember that the Babri demolition case is also hanging fire for decades: Babri demolition case: SC questions CBI over delay in challenging HC order on Advani, others; And that the police call records relevant to Zakia Jafri's case against Modi were left out of the Special Investigation Teams report: Police records show Gujarat riots weren’t a sudden backlash.
And here are other cases where the prosecution failed to prosecute:
KPSS demands probe by CBI into all Kashmiri pandit killings
WHY DO THE POLICE & PROSECUTION OFTEN APPEAR TO BE ACTING ON BEHALF OF THE ACCUSED RATHER THAN TO SECURE JUSTICE?
WHO ARE THE GUILTY? Report of an inquiry into the causes & impact of the riots in Delhi (October-November 1984)
NEW DELHI: The judgment in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case was pronounced amid high-voltage drama and chaos with a person hurling a shoe at the judge and the media being manhandled by police. Minutes before the court pronounced its verdict against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and others,chaos erupted outside the courtroom with Delhi Police refusing to let the media inside. Initially,the court was set to pronounce the judgment at 2pm but deferred it till 3 pm while police sanitized the area outside the courtroom. The Karkardooma court complex soon turned into a fortress with a large number of police officials guarding the gates and 20-30 cops stationed outside the courtroom.The media were asked to cooperate with police and move out of the court in order to do a security sweep of the room. But after being made to wait for more than 90 minutes they were not allowed to enter even the hall outside the courtroom.
As the moment for the verdict neared,anxious spectators,including newspersons and the families of victims, moved towards the courtroom but were stopped short. At 2.50 pm, Sajjan Kumar arrived amid tight security with police forming a human chain around him.Clad in a light grey safari suit, he appeared tired and under strain. As he entered the courtroom, police manhandled newspersons, including female journalists,to stop them from entering the courtroom. Amid this chaos,the courtroom door was shut and within minutes the verdict was pronounced behind closed doors. When the door opened after five minutes, Kumar had already left from the back exit meant for judges.In those five minutes,the judge was also attacked with a shoe by a man identified as Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad, president of All India Sikh Students Federation. Karnail Singh was immediately taken into custody.
Soon after the verdict,Jagdish Kaur,complainant in the case,her son Gurdeep Singh and a few others refused to leave the courtroom saying they wont go without getting justice.I will not leave till I get justice.I will die here.I will sit here until Kumar is held guilty for the crime he committed and gets death penalty, Kaur said.They were later made to leave by a posse of lathiwielding policemen. The verdict also came as a jolt to senior advocate H S Phoolka,who remained silent for half an hour looking visibly shocked. Sitting in a corner, he initially refused to speak. Later, he said, "The court has also not seen the behaviour of Delhi Police from the very beginning. The court has not seen that there were six policemen who deposed in Kumars favour. The police have been shielding Kumar since day one."
Shocked Trilokpuri relives the horrors
NEW DELHI: When images of angry Sikhs protesting against the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar flashed on the TV screen, 42-year-old Kanwaljit Singh Sandhu was stunned into silence. His wife too watched in shock, sitting by his side in the drawing room of their house in a crowded Trilokpuri neighbourhood. Sandhu's teenaged brothers were burnt near Laxmi Nagar and his wife, Simranjeet, an eight-year old then, had seen her grandfather burn before her eyes. "Khoon khaulta hai jab dekhtey hain key koi nyay nahin hai," Sandhu said, pointing at photographs of his parents mounted on the wall. His father died 10 years ago waiting for justice and his mother passed away four years back in November living with the fear that the same fate may befall Sandhu's two sons. "Punish the guilty and the powerful involved. That is what will give us a sense of justice," said Sandhu, who lives on a modest rental income.
Memories of a chilly November 1984 came pouring in with descriptions of rioting mobs ripping through Sikh homes in the congested lanes of Block 30 and 32, killing, burning and brutalizing hundreds. "Yeh kahani bahut lambi hai. Na hum suna sakte hain ise, na aap sun payenge," said 75-year-old Sardar Harminder Singh, a neighbour who survived by hiding in a trunk for three days. A Hindu family kept him safe. He runs a workshop in Trilokpuri.
In the lanes of Trilokpuri, people still point out the chowk that turned into a pyre for burning men, kerbstones that were smeared with blood, stormwater drains and parks from where the army pulled out bodies and media persons who joined rescue teams to pull out Sikhs holed up in cupboards, trunks and bedding. Sardar Harminder Singh told this correspondent that the busy chowk that leads to Block 30 and 32 was where the men were pulled out and burnt alive. There are no Sikh families here now. "Each block has 500 houses where the community stayed. The riots wiped out entire families and houses. The men and boys were killed, the women abused and those who survived fled to Punjab or relocated later in Tilak Vihar. The Sikh families of Kalayanpuri have similar tales. Elderly Sikh men like Bachan Singh, who now work as welders, described how they used rifles to protect their neighbours. Earlier this month, when a trial court ordered reopening of a riot case against former MP and senior Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, residents of Tilak Vihar, where survivors like Charanjeet Kaur live, relived the early morning hours of November 2, 1984. Kaur broke down and asked why her statement recorded more than once hadn't led to the arrest of the attackers. Other elderly women, who were young and happily married in 1984, said the Centre and Delhi government had failed them. Is anyone listening?
'After 29 years, I have lost all hope’
NEW DELHI: "If the court cannot punish the person who destroyed my family, it should instead kill me." With these words, Jagdish Kaur broke down in the courtroom as soon as a trial court acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar of the charges of murder and instigating the mob to kill Sikhs during the 1984 riots. Kaur, whose husband, son and three cousins were killed during the riots, was the main complainant in the case. She was also the mainCBI eyewitness as she had seen Kumar inciting the mob on November 1, 1984. She clearly remembers what Kumar had said 29 years ago. "I saw him telling the mob that 'Kill all the Sikhs and don't even spare the Hindu families which are trying to give them shelter' ," Kaur told TOI after the verdict.
"I have carried around this wound for the past 29 years and now I have lost all hopes," she said. She also alleged, "Kumar had offered me Rs 8 crore to keep my mouth shut and spare him in the case. He had told me that if I do not depose against him, he will get the other accused hanged." Kaur said the court had let off the main accused while convicting the five co-accused "who were less guilty and were only following his dictates". "If it has acquitted the main accused, the others should also be freed." Her son Gurdeep claimed that despite being the complainants in the case, they were not allowed to come inside the room while the accused were there. "It seems he (Sajjan) made some arrangements that is why we were not allowed to enter."
Senior advocate H S Phoolka, who has been representing the victims in the case, also termed the verdict as "unfortunate". "The victims and their families are now frustrated. They are not keen on moving an appeal. It is me who is trying to convince them to carry on their fight for justice," Phoolka said, who plans to move superior court against the judgment. "The court has taken a very hypertechnical view. How can the testimony of the witnesses recorded by it can be held against five accused and the testimony of the same witnesses is not held against one accused?"
Acquittal not the end of Sajjan’s woes
NEW DELHI: Sajjan Kumar is not out of the woods yet. Another case registered according to the recommendations of Nanavati Commissionis pending before a trial court besides the one related to the "missing chargesheet" which allegedly named Kumar as an accused but was never put up in court by Delhi Police. Kumar's fate in the second case being investigated by the CBI is at present in the hands of Delhi high court which first reserved its orders and then on Monday reopened for further arguments his plea against framing of charges in the case.
Justice Suresh Kait has now posted for May 15 Kumar's plea against a trial court order for framing charges against him for a murder in a riot case in Sultanpuri area. HC had reserved its order in December last year in the case in which the CBI has also charged Ved Prakash Pial alias Vedu Pradhan and Brahmanand Gupta for murder, rioting and spreading enmity between two communities . In the other case, it was the Delhi high court-appointed special prosecutor, B S Joon, who discovered the "missing chargesheet" in police files. In a bid to fast-track the riot cases across various police stations, HC had in 2010 put in place a panel of special prosecutors. During his collation of files, Joon came across a chargesheet naming Sajjan Kumar as an accused . The chargesheet was signed on April 8, 1992. The FIR registered in 1987 in Nangloi police station is still pending with no action taken on it.
The police pleaded innocence , claiming it was because they had clubbed it with another FIR. This had led the special prosecutor to question the right of police to do this, arguing that only the courts can decide on this. Surprised by Joon's findings , senior advocate H S Phoolka moved a PIL in HC. Representing the 'November 84 Carnage Justice Committee' , he sought criminal proceedings against the guilty police officers who never put up the "missing chargesheet" before the court. In January this year, HC asked the police commissioner to consider the PIL as a representation /complaint and verify if there was any truth in the charge that the chargesheet was never filed before the court with the "sole purpose of shielding Sajjan Kumar" .
"So far, no complaint is lodged in this regard with the police...we are not inclined to issue any direction," the court had said, indicating its unwillingness to issue directions on the PIL. Since then the complaint has been pending before the police chief.