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1984 riots victims hold demonstration

The victims of the riots seek the arrest of those still at large despite committing heinous acts of crime against their community.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2007 17:13 IST

Victims of the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 staged a demonstration in the capital on Wednesday seeking the arrest of those still at large despite committing heinous acts of crime against their community.

A large number of victims and their family members, including women and children, assembled at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and marched towards the Supreme Court to air their grievances.

They shouted slogans against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar.

According to the protestors, around 10,000 of those accused in various cases of rioting and worse are still roaming freely in Delhi and no action has been taken against them.

The spokesperson of the All India Sikh Conference, Gurcharan Singh Babbar, said: "We want the Supreme Court to answer for its failure in taking any action in the case of the perpetrators of the violence of 1984."

"If the Supreme Court can take cognisance of issues like the spread of dengue in Delhi, sealing of commercial enterprises being run from residential premises, the fodder scam of Bihar and pollution in the Yamuna, isn't the matter of Sikhs important enough for it to take action?"

Babbar said that 5,327 members of the Sikh community were killed in Delhi in the violence that followed the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi on Oct 31, 1984.

The protestors carried placards with slogans like "Is sealing more important than 10,000 killers", "How will Indian judiciary prove its credibility about 1984 carnage" and "We have lost faith in the judicial system".

The protestors demanded that all the accused in the 1984 riots cases who are still roaming free be booked and action taken against them. They wanted the government to be made a party in the case in order to ensure its accountability.

Babbar said: "We want that all the affidavits filed before various commissions set up to look into the matter and the reports of these commissions be put before the Supreme Court so that it may take up the matter in a proper manner."

When asked about the Rs 75 billion package announced by the government last year for the victims of the 1984 violence, Babbar said: "The question today is not of relief. We are not talking of relief. We are talking of justice. We want it soon."

He claimed that the victims are facing lots of problems in claiming economic relief on account of bureaucratic procedures.

A delegation of the protestors submitted a petition enlisting their problems to the registrar of the Supreme Court.