iconimg Saturday, May 23, 2015

Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 09, 2013
A Delhi court on Thursday, nearly 29 years after five members of a family were killed in the Delhi cantonment area during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, awarded life sentence to three of the accused. Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who was also named an accused in the case, was acquitted by the court on April 30 giving “benefit of doubt” because the “key witnesses were untrustworthy”.

“The offences were grave as the people of a particular community had been targeted and the acts of the convicts were most gruesome in nature,” district and sessions judge JR Aryan said while handing down life sentence to Balwan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal.

Two other convicts — ex-councillor Mahender Yadav and ex-MLA Kishan Khokkar — were found guilty of only rioting and were awarded three year’s imprisonment. Yadav and Khokkar were granted bail .

“They had no special or personal animosity towards anyone or the deceased. The assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had blindfolded these youths and unfortunately, there was no leadership to bridle the mob frenzy unleashed with all cruelty,” the court said.

The CBI had demanded death sentence for Khokkar, Lal and Bhagmal, saying they were engaged in “planned communal riot” and “religious cleansing”.

Sikh protestors outside the Karkardooma Court said they will move the Delhi High Court against the acquittal of Kumar and also seek death sentence for the three who were given life sentence. CBI has already said they would move an appeal against Kumar’s acquittal in the Delhi High Court.

Five Sikhs — Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh — all members of the same family were killed in Delhi Cantonment’s Raj Nagar area during the riots.