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Fresh probe likely into 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Thirty years after the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, a fresh probe is likely with a government-appointed committee recommending constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for the same, a move seen by the Congress as an attempt to woo voters ahead of polls.

The committee headed by former Supreme Court Judge Justice (retd) GP Mathur, which was set up on December 23 last year to look into the possibility of re-investigation of the 1984 riots, submitted its report to Home Minister Rajnath Singh last week, sources said.

It has recommended setting up of an SIT for a fresh probe into the riots that followed assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, the sources added.

An order to this effect is likely after the February 7 Delhi Assembly polls as the Model Code of Conduct is in place in the national capital now and no such announcement can be made, the sources said.

3,325 people were killed in the riots. Of them, Delhi accounted for 2,733. Rest were killed in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states.

The move was seen by the opposition as an attempt to woo Sikh voters in the upcoming polls.

“Is it a gimmick by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to woo voters ahead of polls. If it is so, then it is deprecating,” said Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Akali Dal leader and Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Committee chief Manjit Singh G K welcomed the move and said the SIT should be set up at the earliest.

Manjit Singh, who took a delegation to meet the Home Minister, said Rajnath Singh had assured them that justice will be done.

“Akali Dal has been fighting for a long time for justice for the 1984 riots and now we are thankful to the Prime Minister who created this committee… I think, now the government should not waste any time and should constitute an SIT so that justice is delivered because it has been delayed for over 30 years,” he said.

BJP had earlier demanded re-investigation into all anti-Sikh riot cases.

The Justice Nanavati Commission had recommended reopening of only four of the 241 cases closed by police but BJP wanted the re-investigation of all the other 237 cases.

However, it was not immediately clear as to how many anti-Sikh riot cases have been recomended for reopening by the Justice Mathur committee.

Of the 241 related cases, only four were reopened and re-investigated by CBI. In two of the cases, CBI had filed a charge sheet and in one of the cases five persons, including a former MLA, were convicted.

On December 10, 2014, the government had approved a proposal to give an additional compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each to the kin of victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The compensation to the families of the riot victims will be in addition to what they have already received from the government and other agencies.

The fresh compensation will cost the exchequer Rs. 166 crore.

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