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1984 anti-Sikh riots: Delhi HC dismisses Sajjan Kumar’s plea for extension of time to surrender

Sajjan Kumar visits Hanuman temple at Connaught Place on Tuesday. The HC sentenced him to spend the remainder of his life in jail in an anti-Sikh riots case.

Sajjan Kumar visits Hanuman temple at Connaught Place on Tuesday. The HC sentenced him to spend the remainder of his life in jail in an anti-Sikh riots case.  

The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a plea of former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, sentenced to life term for murder of five Sikhs during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, seeking 30 more days to surrender.

The High Court had earlier this week directed Kumar to surrender by December 31.

73-year-old Kumar, directed to serve the remainder of his life in jail for his involvement in 1984 riots, sought time till January 31 to surrender saying that he “has a large family, certain properties and family matters to settle”.

However, a bench of Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel refused to entertain the plea.

In his plea, Kumar said he was “at present under shock and surprise” in view of the High Court’s decision to convict him in a case in which he was acquitted by a trial court here in 2013

He said he wanted to engage senior advocates in the Supreme Court, where the HC verdict could be appealed. Kumar, who was on bail throughout the span of the case proceeding, said he never flouted the bail condition.

“The applicant (Kumar) is the best person to brief his counsel and inform them about the facts. The applicant prays that he be granted further extension of 30 days so as to enable him to settle his family affairs to meet hisclose relatives, near and dear ones including friends who have been associated with him over a period of 73 years of his life,” his application said.

HC judgment

The case in which Kumar is convicted relates to killing of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar area within the jurisdiction of Police Station, Delhi Cantonment and burning down of a Gurudwara in the area.

The High Court overturned an April 2013 judgment of a trial court that had acquitted 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.

The court, in its judgment, had said that the riots were a “crime against humanity” perpetrated by those who enjoyed “political patronage” and aided by an “indifferent” law enforcement agency.

The court had said there has been a familiar pattern of mass killings since the Partition, like in Mumbai in 1993, Gujarat in 2002 and Muzaffarnagar, UP 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 the law enforcement agencies”.

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 had been brought to justice primarily on account of their courage and perseverance.

Jagdish Kaur’s husband, son and three cousins were the five killed while Jagsher Singh was another cousin of Jagdish Kaur. Nirpreet Kaur saw the Gurudwara being burnt down and her father being burnt alive by the raging mobs.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Mar 25, 2020 7:51:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/1984-anti-sikh-riots-hc-dismisses-sajjan-kumars-plea-for-extension-of-time-to-surrender/article25796400.ece

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