Senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar has been sentenced to life imprisonment in 1984 Sikh massacre case, the first major conviction for a case that has remained a deep scar in the psyche of the Sikh community in India and worldwide.
The High Court of Delhi found Sajjan, who was an MP at the time, guilty of inciting crowds to kill Sikhs.
In a scathing verdict, the Delhi high court judges said the accused evaded justice due to “political patronage”, reports BBC.
With his conviction, the attention will certainly turned towards another Congress leader, Kamal Nath, who was also involved in the 1984 dark episode. Nath has emerged as the front-runner for the post of Madhya Pradesh chief minister, according to media reports.
“Monday is big day not only for victims, but for the whole Nation-will see if Law finally catches up with killer of thousands,” Aam Aadmi Party leader and Supreme Court lawyer H S Phoolka said in a Tweeter posting two days earlier.
Phoolka had resigned as the Punjab state assembly opposition leader to work on the case of ‘of murder of 5 Sikhs during #1984SikhGenocide at Raj Nagar, Delhi Cant PS.’
“There’s ample amount of evidence against Kamal Nath and the wheel of justice is yet to turn against him. Now, it is up to (Congress President) Rahul Gandhi to decide whether he wants a man who was involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh,” Phoolka told PTI.
There are other cases pending in the courts, including one against former Congress minister Jagdish Tytler, who denies any hand in anti-Sikh violence.
The killing of Mrs Gandhi, who belonged to the Congress – now India’s main opposition party- saw mobs attack and murder members of the Sikh community across the country. The worst violence took place in the capital, Delhi, where more than 2,700 Sikhs are believed to have died, the report added.
In Sajjan’s case, the court had cancelled an earlier court order acquitting him of charges in what the judges called “genocide”.
The 73-year old politician was convicted in the killing of five members of a family in Raj Nagar and the torching of a gurdwara in Delhi on November 1, 1984. He has been told to surrender by December 31.
“It is important to assure the victims that despite the challenges truth will prevail,” the High Court said, giving a shout-out to victims like Jagdish Kaur and Nirpreet Kaur, who fought for justice for 34 years and suffered intimidation and harassment. “The aftershock of those atrocities is still being felt,” said the court, reports NDTV.com.