Setback for Congress as Sajjan Kumar gets life sentence in 1984 riots case

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On a day when the Congress leaders are set to take the oath of office as chief ministers in three states, the Delhi High Court on Monday gave Sajjan Kumar a life sentence in the 1984 riots case.

Reversing the earlier judgement of the trial court, which acquitted him, the Delhi HC sentenced Sajjan Kumar to life imprisonment.  “It is important to assure the victims that despite the challenges truth will prevail,” the court said.

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Reading the judgement the court said “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.”

He has to surrender by December 31, 2018. The court also extended the life imprisonment of other two convicts from three years to ten years.

Reacting to the judgement, Manjinder Singh Sirsa of the Shiromani Akali Dal said “We thank the court for giving us justice. Our fight will continue till Sajjan Kumar & Jagdish Tytler get a death sentence & Gandhi family is dragged to the court & put in jail.”

The Congress leader was convicted of murder and rioting during the clashes that broke out in the wake of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her Sikh bodyguards. As many as 2,800 Sikhs were killed in the violence, of these 2,100 were in Delhi.

“The aftershock of those atrocities are still being felt,” a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel said.

The prosecution’s key witness, Cham Kaur, had told Delhi’s Patiala House Court on November 16 that she saw Sajjan Kumar telling a mob in Sultanpuri neighbourhood that Sikhs had killed ‘our mother.’ Kaur had said two members of her family were killed in a mob attack the next morning.

The witness said she was able to recognise Sajjan Kumar, who was a parliamentarian then because they used to visit him for getting ration cards and passports made.

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