1984 Riots Case: File Status Report, Supreme Court Directs Centre

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The Supreme Court has today asked the Central Government to file a report detailing the current status of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. The riots are a blot on the face of modern India, the top court has observed earlier, and were a series of pogromsbetween the 31 October and 3 November after the assassination of then PM Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Abench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar has fixed the next date of the hearing on February 20.

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The Supreme Court has asked for a status report on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Last year on December 21, a Delhi Court had granted anticipatory bail to Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in connection with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case on one condition: Kumar would have to cooperate with the investigating agencies probing the case. Kumar would also not be allowed to leave the country without permission from the court or other competent authority. Earlier on November 4, the Delhi High Court had rejected Kumar’s plea to change the judge hearing the case. The Supreme Court bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice R. Banumathi sought the report as petitioner S. Gurlad Singh Kahlon approached the court stating that the Special Investigation Team had utterly failed in carrying out the probe to its conclusion.

On January 4 this year, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was appointed to re-investigate the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case had also questioned Sajjan Kumar. Incidentally, the case against Kumar was earlier closed by the CBI. Earlier, the Congress leader’s case had been transferred to the Patiala House Court by the High Court. The Court had also asked the district judge torecord the proceedings in the case.

Kumar and many of his followers have been accused of instigating a mob for killing two Sikhs, Sohan Singh and his son-in-law Avtar Singh, in Delhi’s Janakpuri area on November 1, 1984. The 1984 riots case have been languishing in courts for 32 years now. Many of the original complainants have either died or have recanted their complaints. While official sources have placed the number of dead at 2800 across the country, other reports have estimated that at least 8000 people had died in the riots, one of which is mentioned here. The CBI had earlier claimed that it had not found any evidence against Sajjan Kumar in the case. The SIT set up to probe the 1984 Riots Case includes IPS officer Pramod Asthana, retired district and sessions judge Rakesh Kapoor and the Delhi Police DCP Kumar Gyanesh. Several books and movies have emerged later commemorating the lamentable event.

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