Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary was on October 31 and the November 1 massacre that started after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
On 31 October 1984, there were reports of communal violence with many Sikhs in Delhi, but after the violence, the first news of the murder was recorded next morning. The incident took place in western Delhi.
There was considerable time between the assassination of Indira Gandhi’s assassination and the attack on the people of the armed forces and then there was death of 2,733 people in this violence, which falsifies the government’s argument that the riots started immediately after the killing. And there was no conspiracy behind anyone.
The same model was repeated in 2002 in Gujarat also. After the violence in Godhra, the first case of the riots came out in Gulberg Society which happened about 30 hours after the burning of the canister of Sabarmati Express.
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A major difference between the 1984 and 2002 riots is that most of the charges against whom the charges were framed were mostly exonerated. The 1984 riots in Delhi were done on a large scale, and officially, a total of 2,733 people died. But in the last 33 years, this matter did not go a long way in getting justice. Criminal justice system of the country also fails in this 33-year-old case.
Compared to the 2002 Gujarat riot victims, there have been few reasons to give relief to Sikh riot victims in the name of justice, especially in those cases where names of politicians are included. Relief for Gujarat riot victims is that in this case, they have succeeded in proving a minister of the Modi government Maya Kodnani guilty.
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But in view of the alleged riots in Delhi, the crime against them was not proved even if there was a substantial evidence against Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, Kamal Nath or HKL Bhagat, equal to Maya Kodnani.
In view of the Delhi riots, dozens of inquiry committees and commissions were made in this regard. Recently, a committee has been formed two months ago, but in this case, there is no trend to get punishment.
The Supreme Court has intervened in the 1984 riots cases, which can be seen as a good initiative. After all, the court’s role in conviction of the accused in 2002 riots was important. But this can be proved as ‘a lot got too late’.
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Supreme Court has appointed two retired judges on 16th August to investigate the cases of Sikh Riots, who will report on the fact that more than 200 cases related to the 1984 riots even after the clear report of the Special Investigation Team in the last two years. Why are so far off. This panel has to submit its report within three months.
In this case the figures say a lot. Out of the 293 cases which were investigated, the Special Investigation Team opened for 59 cases of re-investigation. Of these 59 cases reopened, 38 cases were re-closed and in only four cases, the investigating team was able to collect evidence to file chargesheets.
Although these riots took place during the Congress rule, but during the rule of Bharatiya Janata Party, there is a lack of will in direction of punishing those responsible for these riots. As if there is a kind of unknowable deal between those who supported the riots of 1984 and 2002.
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But in the midst of this disappointment, the ray of hope has come in the Delhi High Court which is hearing in this case named after the political leaders. The court is currently hearing an appeal filed against former Congress minister Sajjan Kumar for acquitting the accused.
In the Cantonment area of Delhi, the fingerprint has been raised in the testimony of witnesses in his presence in the violence place. In this case, the ongoing proceedings on appeals have raised the hope among the victims that they may be able to convince a politician in this matter.
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Relief from the Supreme Court
Senior advocate HS Foolka had left his post of Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly to join the proceedings. He said, “Justice for victims of 1984 riots – now or never.”
Although in the Cantonment area of West Delhi, he was released from the charges in the case related to violence and in another case, but there is more evidence of being involved in communal violence against Sajjan Kumar than any other politician.
In the case related to them, many survivors in the riots have given testimony and said that Sajjan Kumar himself had led the mob in the riots.
Sajjan Kumar is accused of inciting violence against Sikhs in 1984
‘Political benefits’ raised from riots
There was also a large number of violence reported in East Delhi’s election area of HKL Bhagat, but against them, there are few witnesses related to direct involvement in violence. Bhagat was also acquitted in a case. One of the major reasons for this decision in 2000 was that in cases of rioting, there were reportedly fewer witnesses for their presence.
Just like other Congress leaders, Bhagat was acquitted by the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission. After the 1984 riots, the Rajiv Gandhi government formed this commission to investigate the riots.
In 1986, the basis of the acquittal of the Mishra Commission was the testimony of a Sikh leader named Balwinder Singh who was in his favor. Balvinder Singh’s son Arvinder Singh Lovely later became Sheila Dikshit’s minister in the government. The irony is that in the beginning of this year, he quit the Congress and took the BJP to his favor.
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Given the political benefits raised by communal riots, it is important that the commanders of long-standing laws of the law should take hold, not the small people involved
As long as this thinking is not eliminated that politicians may be punished, due to ideology or opportunism, political parties will not stop taking advantage of communal violence.
(Manoj Mitta is the co-author of ‘When A Tree Shook Daily: The 1984 Carnage and Its Aftermath’ and author of ‘The Fiction of Fact Finding: Modi and Godhra.’)