As news of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal in a 1984 anti-Sikh riot case reached victims and their relatives outside the Karkardooma court complex in east Delhi around 3pm, there was widespread shock and disbelief, followed by a wave of anger.
Within seconds, the irate protestors climbed on to the main iron gate. Shouting slogans against the Congress, Delhi Police, Sajjan Kumar and (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi, Sikh men and women — most of them victims of the 1984 massacre — barged inside the complex.
As the baton-wielding rapid action force personnel stood by, Delhi Police constables pushed the protestors out and packed two busloads of them “to prevent a law and order situation”. Cries of ‘hang the rioters’ and ‘we want justice’ reverberated through the court complex.
“Justice has not just been delayed but also denied,” cried many of the protesters. More than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in Delhi between November 1 and 3 in 1984 after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi. Sajjan Kumar was allegedly one of the instigators of the killer mob.
Babu Singh Dukhiya, president of the National 1984 Victim Justice and Welfare Society, said: “They have hung Kehar Singh (one of the convicted killers of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi) for one death, but what about the killers of thousands of Sikhs? Is the law not same for all citizens of this country? (If not), we will demand a separate country.”
Earlier, victims’ families and survivors of the 1984 carnage had started assembling outside the Karkardooma court complex around 1 pm. The police had cordoned off the area and put several barricades in the service lane in front of the court building.
Several leaders from the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee, too had joined the victims’ families at Karkardooma.