Riots broke out following the assassination of then PM Indira Gandhi. She was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots have once again made headlines after a Special Investigation Team (SIT), set up by the Union Home Ministry, has decided to reopen seven cases in the matter, where the accused were either acquitted or the trial closed.
The action may bring trouble for Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, as Delhi MLA and a member of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Manjinder Singh Sirsa has accused him of being involved in the case.
According to Sirsa, Kamal Nath had allegedly given shelter to five people who were accused in one of the seven cases. "Nath was never named in the FIR registered in New Delhi's Parliament Street police station. Five persons named as accused in the case (FIR No. 601/84) were accommodated in Nath's residence. All these accused were discharged due to lack of evidence,” he told PTI.
"Since the SIT will reinvestigate this case also, two witnesses will appear before the SIT where they will talk about Kamal Nath's role in the riots," he said.
The witnesses were Sanjay Suri, who now lives in England, and Mukhtiyar Singh, who is now in Patna, Sirsa added.
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots
Anti-Sikh riots took place following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. She was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984 for permitting Operation Blue Star.
In the riots, a total of 3,325 people were killed in which Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths, while the rest occurred in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states.
> Nov 1-2: After assassination of Indira Gandhi, a mob killed five Sikhs in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment. Armed mobs take over the streets in Delhi. Gurdwaras are among the first targets. The worst-affected areas are low-income neighbourhoods such as Trilokpuri, Shahdara, Geeta, Mongolpuri, Sultanpuri and Palam Colony.
> February 23: Charge sheet filed against one Jai Pal Singh.
> May: Justice Ranganath Misra Commission formed.
> September 9: Affidavit filed by Santokh Singh, brother of Hardev Singh, before Justice Rangnath Misra Commission and investigation was conducted by anti-riot cell of Delhi Police.
> December 20: Jai Pal Singh was acquitted.
> A case was registered at Vasant Kunj police station on the recommendation of Justice JD Jain and DK Aggarwal committee based on Singh's affidavit.
> February 9: Delhi Police could not gather evidence to prosecute any accused and after investigation, an untraced (closure) report was filed which was accepted by the court.
> May: Girish Thakorlal Nanavati Commission was set up to probe riots related cases.
> December: Sessions court acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in one of the cases.
> October 24: CBI registered another case on recommendation of GT Nanavati Commission.
> February 1: Trial court issued summons against Sajjan Kumar, Balwan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal, Krishan Khokkar, late Maha Singh and Santosh Rani, named as accused.
> April 30: Court acquitted Kumar. Balwan Khokhar, Lal, Bhagmal held guilty for the offence of murder, while Yadav and Krishan Khokhar convicted for the offence of rioting.
> May 9: Court awarded life term to Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal, and 3-year jail term to Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.
> January 31: SIT filed its charge sheet naming Naresh Sherawat and Yahspal Singh.
> November 20: A Delhi court awarded death penalty to convict Yashpal Singh, the first capital punishment in the case and gave life term to Sherawat.
> December 17: HC convicted and sentenced Kumar to the remainder of his life. It also upheld the life term of Khokhar, Bhagmal and Lal. Sentence of Yadav and Kishan Khokhar enhanced to 10 years in jail.
Now, the SIT has decided to reopen seven anti-Sikh riot cases that were registered in 1984 at police stations in Vasant Vihar, Sun Light Colony, Kalyanpuri, Parliament Street, Connaught Place, Patel Nagar and Shahdara. It has issued public notices asking individuals and organisations to provide information related to the seven cases.
With this, the ghost of 1984 is back to haunt Kamal Nath. He Nath had previously denied the charges.(With inputs from PTI)Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.