The Delhi High Court convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 Sikh massacre case on December 17. Delivering its verdict on the petitions challenging trial court’s judgement that acquitted Kumar, the court sentenced him to life imprisonment for his involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre that broke out as an aftermath of then PM Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her Sikh bodyguards.
A two-judge bench of Justices S. Muralidhar and Vinod Goel found 71-year-old Kumar guilty of promoting enmity between groups, defiling public property, and offences of murder. The bench ordered Kumar not to leave the city and submit his contact details to the CBI. Kumar will surrender on December 31.
In their verdict, the judges noted that the ‘criminals have enjoyed political patronage’. Appreciating the courage of the witness and the victim Jagdish Kaur, who has been fighting for action against Sajjan Kumar, the court said, “It is important to assure the victims that despite the challenges truth will prevail. The aftershock of those atrocities is still being felt.”
On October 29, the bench concluded the hearing on the petitions filed by the CBI, challenging trial court verdict that had acquitted Kumar, and reserved its judgement. The judgement on the case comes a day after Congress formed governments in three states – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
In 2013, the trial court had convicted former councillor Balwan Khokkar, former legislator Mahender Yadav, Kishan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal. However, the court had acquitted Kumar who is accused of goading the mob to kill Sikhs.
According to several accounts of victims and eyewitnesses, during the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre that broke out after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, many Congress leaders incited the mob to kill members of the Sikh community. Rajiv Gandhi, who was sworn in as the PM after his mother’s death, also justified it in his speech during Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary.
“When a big tree falls, the earth shakes,” he had said while addressing a public rally.