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Key witness in 1984 Delhi riots dies

Surinder Singh, a key witness in the anti-Sikh violence that swept the Indian capital in 1984, has died in New Delhi following cardiac arrest.

delhi Updated: Jul 14, 2009 16:23 IST

Surinder Singh, a key witness in the anti-Sikh violence that swept the Indian capital in 1984, has died in New Delhi following cardiac arrest.

Singh, admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) last week, died on Monday evening. The 58-year-old was cremated on Tuesday morning.

"He suffered from acute diabetes and depression. He died of cardiac arrest," senior advocate H S Phoolka, who has been appearing in courts for the riot victims, told IANS.

Singh, who lived in the US, came to India in January this year to record his statement before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court against Congress leaders including Jagdish Tytler allegedly involved in the riots.

Alleging he was tortured, Phoolka said, "His passport was seized the day he landed in New Delhi and he was not allowed to return to the US. He was under a lot of pressure to change his statement against Tytler."

Singh, along with another witness Jasbir Singh, had earlier recorded statements before the CBI in New York last year.

"In May this year, Singh called me saying his statement be recorded as he has not been keeping well. His family members will now take a decision regarding the case," said Phoolka.

About 2,700 Sikhs were killed in violence that engulfed the Indian capital following the October 1984 assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.