India’s opposition party leader sentenced to life imprisonment

Adjust Comment Print

"1984 riots were a crime against humanity". Nothing, just like the Sikhs killed by violent mob avenging the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi. Though it took over three decades to punish the accused, it was important to assure the victims that "truth will prevail and justice will be done".

The assassination followed Operation Blue Star earlier in the same year, which saw Indian military try to flush out Sikh separatists from Amritsar's Golden Temple, the faith's holiest shrine.

The violence in 1984 erupted hours after Mrs Gandhi was shot dead at her home, and resulted in nearly 3,000 people being killed.

The violence took place all over the country, but most of the damage was caused in Delhi.

The Delhi High Court convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and sentenced him to life imprisonment in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case on Monday, thirty-four years after the tragedy.

The Delhi HC rapped Delhi police for "failing to prevent and control the violence" in the riots case.

The panel report said: "It was alleged that the mobs indulging in riots were led by Shri Sajjan Kumar and Shri Balwan Khokhar and other Congress leaders".

Some of the family members of the victims wept as they heard the verdict.

Bomb threats emailed to multiple locations across the country
Police on K Street near the White House told a Sputnik reporter they were "working on a bomb threat" late Thursday afternoon. The RCMP said it was aware of email threats made across the Canada , and urged anyone who received one to exercise caution.

"We thank the court for giving justice to us". Her case remains in the court system.

January 13, 2010: CBI files chargesheet including against Sajjan Kumar in the killing of five Sikhs in south Delhi. A total of 3,350 Sikhs were killed across the country, as per official figures.

The court has asked Kumar not to leave the city and surrender by December 31. "The accused enjoyed political patronage and escaped trial". "They will continue to shock the collective conscience of society for a long time to come", they added.

"BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley are trying to give political colours to court's verdict, they should stop doing so".

Several cases related to the riots are either the subject of tortuous trials or are still being investigated. On Monday, there were protests as the party swore in its new Madhya Pradesh state chief minister, Kamal Nath, into office.

Sikhs are a religious minority in India and at 21 million, they make up close to 2% of the population. It attracted many supporters from Europe but divided the Sikh community in the United Kingdom, when frontline organisations and opposed it. The conviction of five others - former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal, former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar- were also upheld by the high court.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal welcomed the verdict convicting the 73-year-old Congress leader. However, their deep sense of anguish and hurt over the massacre and then this long fight for justice is unlikely to go away easily. A former Congress minister, Jagdish Tytler, also faces a trial.

Comments