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Sajjan Kumar surrenders in court in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case

Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar arrives to surrender at Karkardooma Court, in New Delhi on Monday.

Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar arrives to surrender at Karkardooma Court, in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

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Delhi High Court on December 17 convicted and sentenced Mr. Kumar to life imprisonment for the “remainder of his natural life”.

Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar on Monday surrendered before a local court to serve the life sentence awarded to him by the Delhi High Court for murder of five Sikhs during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Former MLAs Krishan Khokhar and Mahender Yadav, who were also convicted in the same case and awarded 10-year jail terms each, surrendered before the court earlier during the day.

Mr. Kumar, 73, was sent to Mandoli jail in northeast Delhi by Metropolitan Magistrate Aditi Garg. The judge rejected his plea that he be sent to high-security Tihar Jail as the case pertains to Delhi Cantonment area which comes under the jail’s jurisdiction.

The court was informed by authorities that all convicts are first taken to Mandoli jail and from there, they may be shifted, if required.

“Since, there is security threat to the convict, he be provided a separate van for commuting from court to jail and from jail to court,” the magistrate said in the two-page order.

Mr. Kumar, a former Member of Parliament, has already filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the conviction and life sentence awarded to him by the High Court.

The High Court had earlier this month declined his plea to extend the deadline for surrender by a month.

Mr. Khokhar and Mr. Yadav were sentenced to three years in jail by the trial court for various offences during the riots, but the High Court enhanced their punishment to 10-year jail terms.

The High Court on December 17 convicted Mr. Kumar of killing five Sikhs in Raj Nagar area during the riots which broke out in the capital in the aftermath of the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

It overturned an April 2013 judgment of a trial court here which had acquitted Mr. Kumar, saying he was the leader of the mob and actively abetted the commission of crimes by his repeated exhortations to the mob to indulge in the mayhem and kill innocent Sikhs. It directed him to surrender by December 31.

The High Court relied mainly on the depositions of three witnesses, Jagdish Kaur, Jagsher Singh, and Nirpreet Kaur noting that the accused in this case have been brought to justice primarily on account of their courage and perseverance.

The HC in the common judgment also upheld the conviction and varying punishment given to former Congress councillor Balwan Khokar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, and Girdhari Lal by the trial court.

 

Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar surrendered before a Delhi court on Monday to serve the life sentence awarded to him by the Delhi High Court in connection with a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

He surrendered before Metropolitan Magistrate Aditi Garg.

The HC had set a deadline of December 31 for Mr. Kumar to surrender and on December 21 declined his plea to extend the time by a month.

Mr. Kumar (73) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the conviction and life sentence awarded to him by the high court on December 17.

After his conviction, Mr. Kumar resigned from the Congress party.

The case in which Kumar was convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar Part-I area in Palam Colony of southwest Delhi on November 1-2, 1984 and burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.

The riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her two Sikh bodyguards.

Earlier in the day, former MLAs Kishan Khokhar and Mahender Yadav, who were also convicted in the same case, surrendered before the court to serve their 10-year jail term.

Media has not been allowed inside the courtroom.

The Delhi High Court on December 17 convicted and sentenced Mr. Kumar to life imprisonment for the “remainder of his natural life”.

Besides Mr.Kumar, the others convicted in the case were former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal.

In its judgment, the high court had noted that over 2,700 Sikhs were killed in the national capital during the 1984 riots which was indeed a “carnage of unbelievable proportions“.

It also said the riots were a “crime against humanity” perpetrated by those who enjoyed “political patronage” and aided by an “indifferent” law enforcement agency.

The high court had further said there has been a familiar pattern of mass killings since Partition, like in Mumbai in 1993, Gujarat in 2002 and Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh in 2013, and the “common” feature of each was the “targeting of minorities” with the attacks being “spearheaded by the dominant political actors, facilitated by law enforcement agencies“.

The High Court had set aside the trial court’s 2010 verdict which had acquitted Mr.Kumar in the case.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 10:18:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/1984-anti-sikh-riots-case-sajjan-kumar-surrenders-in-court/article25871368.ece

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