The Central Bureau of Investigation has concluded its final arguments in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case trial by alleging that there was evidence on record to show that Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was part of a conspiracy behind the riots at Raj Nagar in the Delhi Cantonment area.
CBI special public prosecutor R. S. Cheema relied on the statements of three prosecution witnesses who said Mr. Kumar instigated violence.
Mr. Cheema said witness Jagsher Singh saw Mr. Kumar get down from a white Ambassador car on the evening of November 1, 1984 and take a round of the riot-hit area in Raj Nagar and assess the damage caused by mobsters. The politician scolded the rioters about the minimal damage done to Jagsher’s house, after which his house was totally burnt and two of his brothers were killed, the prosecutor contended.
Prosecution witnesses Jagdish Kaur and Nirpreet Kaur also saw Mr. Kumar address a crowd on the morning of November 2, 1984, and heard him instigate a mob to kill Sikhs. All three witnesses had no previous enmity against Mr. Kumar to give them reason to believe that they were falsely implicating him in the case, Mr. Cheema said.
The prosecutor countered Mr. Kumar’s deposition that the latter organised peace marches and blood donation camps to help rehabilitate the riot victims, and won the Lok Sabha election from the area after the riots with the support of all communities, including Sikhs. “If there were Sikhs who were direct beneficiaries of your efforts then why did you not produce even one of them who was a witness to your goodness,” Mr. Cheema said. He wondered why, as the local MP, the leader did not intervene to stop the riots, ensure cases were registered, culprits arrested and investigation conducted professionally.
Mr. Cheema also took objection to the written arguments submitted by Mr. Kumar on October 18 last in which he said Indira Gandhi’s assassination in the aftermath of “Operation Blue Star” by her Sikh bodyguards and newspaper reports of killing of Hindus by members of the Sikh community had hurt the “feelings” of the “majority” community.
Mr. Cheema said Mr. Kumar’s statement that “people then lost their self-control and patience and the unfortunate incidents [the riots] were the result of that outburst” depicted his mindset.
The prosecutor defended the credentials of Nirpreet Kaur, who was discharged in two TADA cases and acquitted in a third case. “You kill her father, burn her house, and then drive her to destitution. She admits she had a grievance against the government. But aren’t we driving people to the brink of sedition?”
“The CBI registered the case after the Nanavati Commission report. It was a very difficult case as evidence had disappeared, but the victims and witnesses could appear for the first time and depose without fear. These were witnesses who were left destitute, but struggled, suffered and survived to come back to tell their tale. We have done our duty,” Mr. Cheema concluded.