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1984 anti-Sikh Riots: Many questions remain unanswered!

Sajjan Kumar is one of the most notable persons accused in connection with the 1984 Sikh massacre. The eyewitnesses have testified how Sajjan Kumar incited mobs to kill Sikhs in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. In 2012, the Central Bureau of Investigation prosecutor told a Delhi Court that the riots targeting the Sikhs had the “patronage” of Sajjan Kumar. The CBI alleged that he organised anti-Sikh Riots and he along with five others are being tried at the court for killing six Sikh people. In April 2013, the Karkardooma district court in Delhi acquitted Sajjan Kumar, while convicting five others, leading to protests. Additional court cases against Kumar, including one in the Delhi High Court, remain ongoing. On August 27, 2013, the Delhi High Court accepted an appeal filed by the CBI against Kumar’s previous acquittal by a lower court. The CBI stated that the trial court “erred in acquitting Sajjan Kumar”; however, finally justice prevailed and he is sentenced to life imprisonment by the Delhi High Court. It took 34 years to deliver justice; some of the victims died their death waiting for this moment.

While watching this news on TV, my Bade Papa (father’s elder brother), who is almost of Sajjan Kumar’s age, had an emotional moment. Those days he was in Delhi; with wet eyes he said, “How can we forget, those slogans echoed in every street and square of Delhi. There was violence everywhere. One could hear the cries of the Sikh victims coming from all directions”. Congress leaders and the police both were mad and violent by all means. Smoke was billowing out of burning Gurudwaras and houses, shops, factories, and other property of Sikhs. The Sikhs were being dragged out of their homes to be butchered brutally. Those Hindus were trashed to death if they showed any humanity towards fellow Sikh families. He witnessed those gruesome days and all the killings that were orchestrated by the then Congress Ministers and the police officers.

She was Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India. Everything was well planned in advance of Blue Star Operation. She was told by her advisers that Sikhs never tolerated any invade on Golden Temple in their past history, so again it will not be tolerated. Attack on Golden Temple always proved disastrous for the attacker and reconsolidation of the Sikh mass. Indira Gandhi did everything strategically to crush any retaliation by the Sikh community anywhere in India. The 1984 genocide was a blue print prepared before June 1984. She did Blue Star Operation successfully and so strategically that nothing happened as was alarmed. Indira Gandhi’s plan was to create a shiver in the nerves of the Sikhs if they retaliate in any way. But unfortunately, she was over-confident that the Sikhs have digested the attack on the Golden Temple. Her assignation is well-known. History repeated and it again proved disastrous for the invader.

Apart from Sajjan Kumar, there were many political leaders, who volunteered the riots, but most of them are having good life even today. The Law could not do much against them — H.K.L. Bhagat, the then Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting. On November 5, he reported to have intervened to get miscreants released who were held in Shahdara Thana. Babu Ram Sharma, a Member of the Municipal Corporation (Ward No. 58) reported to be the right-hand man of H.K.L. Bhagat and was responsible for loot, arson, and murder in trance-Yamuna areas — Babarpur, Chajupur Colony (Gonda) and led people on motorcycle with megaphone.

Sajjan Kumar, the then Congress (I) MP from Mangolpuri has reportedly paid Rs 100 and a bottle of liquor to each person involved in the killing. Lalit Makan, the then Congress (I) Trade Union Leader and Metropolitan Councilor, paid mob with Rs 100 each plus a bottle of liquor. A white ambassador car reportedly belonging to him came four times to the GT Road area near Azadpur. The instructions to the mobs indulging in arson were given from inside the car. Dharam Das Shastri, the then Congress (I) MP from Karol Bagh, reported to have carried voter list with him at Prakash Nagar for identification of the Sikhs. On November 5, according to the newspaper reports, he along with other Congress (I) leaders tried to pressurise the SHO of Karol Bagh Police Station to release the persons who were arrested during the police raids to recover looted property. Jagdish Tytler, the then Congress (I) MP from Sadar Constitutency, on November 6 at 5 p.m., barged into a press conference that the Police Commissioner SC Tandon was holding. As per a journalist report, Jagdish Tytler told the Police Commissioner that “by holding my men you are hampering the relief work”. The then Metropolitan Councillor Mahendra reportedly accompanied Dharam Das Shastri with the voter list at Prakash Nagar. Mangat Ram Singal, the then Member of Municipal Corporation (Ward No. 32), was reportedly with Dharam Das Shastri and Mahendra at Prakash Nagar.

Dr. Ashok Kumar, the then Member of Municipal Corporation, Kalyanpuri, reportedly held a meeting in Kalyanpuri, following which a violence broke out immediately. According to many eyewitnesses, he led mobs that indulged in loot, murder, arson, and rape. Sukhan Lal Sood, the then Metropolitan Councillor, according to eyewitnesses, was seen leading mobs, which indulged in loot, murder, burning, and rape. He had come with petrol and serial lists and addresses of Sikhs in the locality. The women refugees recognised him and drove him out. Jagdish Chander Tokas, the then Member of Municipal Corporation Munirka (Ward No. 14), reportedly led a mob to RK Puram Sector IV and V. Ishwar Singh, the then Member of the Municipal Corporation, Mangolpuri (Ward No. 37), allegedly led the mobs that indulged in looting, burning, rape, and murder in Mangolpuri area. Balwant Khokhar, the then Youth Congress (I) Leader, Delhi, was identified as one of the persons responsible for instigating looting and arson in the Palam Colony area.

Faiz Mohammad, the then Youth Congress (I) leader, Delhi, named by refugees in Shakurpur camp and in Mangolpuri for being a part of the mob indulging in looting, arson and murder. Satbir Singh, the then Youth Congress (I) leader had allegedly brought busloads of people from Ber Sarai to Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School (Munirka). They burnt school buses and parts of the school building. He was reportedly involved in looting and beating of the Sikhs that carried on throughout the night on November 1. List is too long and justice is too short.

Irony is that, the entire establishment and the government bodies, volunteered in violence and there are many questions yet to be answered. For example, who ordered around 46 Indian Railway trains to stop and allow the death squads to hunt down the Sikhs? Who ordered the Fire Brigade not to save the Sikh properties? Who gave the order for the police to travel through areas spreading rumours that the Sikhs had poisoned Delhi’s water supply and trains arriving from the Punjab were filled with Hindu bodies? Who ordered Medical staff in hospitals not to treat the Sikhs? Who authorised the use of Delhi Transportation Company buses to transport the mobs? Who supplied the mobs with money and weapons? Who was involved in the pre-planning, possibly months before the assassination? Were the government aware that the leaders of Congress (I) and the Police met on the night of October 31? Who authorised the use of government-issued voter and ration list, which were used to identify the Sikh homes? Why were Doodarshan TV and All India Radio allowed to repeatedly broadcast crowds chanting anti-Sikh slogans?


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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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