1984 riots case convict Sajjan Kumar expected to surrender today; petitioner HS Phoolka advises victims to steer clear of court premises
The Delhi High Court on 17 December overturned the acquittal granted to Sajjan Kumar in 2013 in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case and convicted and sentenced him to life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 5 lakh.
New Delhi: Sajjan Kumar, the 73-year-old Congress leader who was awarded a life sentence by the Delhi High Court in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, is expected to surrender before the Karkardooma Court or Tihar Jail authorities in Delhi on Monday.
Overturning the acquittal granted to Kumar by a trial court in 2013, the Delhi High Court on 17 December convicted Kumar and sentenced him to life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 5 lakh.
In view of this, HS Phoolka, one of the petitioners in 1984 anti-Sikh riot case, has appealed to the victims of the riots to not go to the court on Monday.
"It is apprehended that Sajjan Kumar might try to create disturbances around the court tomorrow to use as an excuse not to surrender and ask for an extension. I request 1984 Sikh genocide victims not to go to the court tomorrow. He has not got any relief from the Supreme Court. So he has to surrender," Phoolka said in a statement.
Speaking to ANI, Phoolka said: "He simply has to go to the court tomorrow and surrender. If he does not do that, then on January 1, the police will have to take him into custody and send him to Tihar Jail. This is a very big victory for the entire nation as a mass murderer is going to be punished after years."
Notably, the case against Kumar pertains to the murder of five members of a Sikh family in the Delhi Cantonment area during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the aftermath of the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on 31 October, 1984.
The court, which had asked the former MP to surrender before 31 December, made stinging observations over the investigations and said there "appeared to be ongoing large-scale efforts to suppress cases against him".
"In the summer of 1947, during partition, several people were massacred. 37 years later Delhi was the witness of a similar tragedy. The accused enjoyed political patronage and escaped trial," the court had said, adding that what happened in the aftermath of the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi, was "carnage of unbelievable proportions" in which over 2,700 Sikhs were murdered in Delhi alone.
The victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots hailed the high court's verdict.
Last month, an anti-Sikh riots witness and victim Cham Kaur issued a statement identifying Kumar as the instigator. Another witness named Sheela Kaur also identified him in connection with the case.
In March, the Delhi High Court had received a petition containing a CD, which was stated to be Kumar's confession about accepting his role in the riots.
On 22 December, after the decision given by the high court, the former Congress leader filed an appeal in the top court, after the high court dismissed Kumar's plea seeking more time to surrender. In his plea, he had sought 30 additional days to surrender, on account of settling family affairs with regard to property and inheritance.
Earlier on Thursday, the former parliamentarian appeared before Delhi's Patiala House Court for a hearing in another case related to the riots registered against him by the CBI on the recommendation of Nanavati Commission. The court has adjourned the matter till 22 January.
As per official records, over 2,700 Sikhs were killed across India after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh.
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