A sting operation carried out by a news portal on Tuesday claimed that the government had failed to take action to stop the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and senior police officers “colluded” with the then government to teach Sikhs a “lesson.”
In an undercover investigation, Cobrapost interviewed eight officers of Delhi police, some of them admitting to their failure as a force, while others confessing that the top brass of the police force colluded with the then Congress government to teach Sikhs 'a lesson'.
The policemen interviewed include the then Kalyanpuri station house officer (SHO) Shoorveer Singh Tyagi; Rohtas Singh (SHO Delhi Cantonment); SN Bhaskar (SHO Krishna Nagar); OP Yadav (SHO Srinivaspuri); and Jaipal Singh (SHO Mehrauli).
File photo showing Delhi, the nation’s capital became a funeral pyre for three days, from October 31 to November 3 in 1984.
In an interview with the Cobrapost, the then police chief SC Tandon, conveniently parried all questions and then additional commissioner of police (ACP) Gautam Kaul straightaway rejected the idea that he had any first-hand knowledge of rioting.
Amrik Singh Bhullar, the then SHO of Patel Nagar, had named some local leaders in his affidavit, accusing them of instigating and even leading the frenzied mobs.
The sting reveals that the operational dysfunction was so obvious through the rank and file of Delhi Police that the Kusum Mittal Committee, formed upon the recommendation of justice Ranganath Mishra Commission, had identified 72 police officers for conniving in the riots and arson or gross negligence in discharging their duty. Of these officers, the committee had sought the dismissal of 30.
Their interviews to this portal have made some shocking revelations. The website's sting reveals that the police force had succumbed to anti-Sikh sentiments, thus abetting rioting and arson, even encouraging rioters to the extent that repeated warnings about the simmering communal sentiments against Sikhs in their areas went unheard by senior officers.
An interview with Amrik Singh Bhullar reveals that while news of arson and rioting bombarded the Police Control Rooms, only two per cent of the messages were recorded by them and police logbooks were conveniently changed to eliminate evidence of inaction on the part of senior officers.
"Some officers did not act for fear of punishment or transfers," he recounts.
Some also revealed how some police officers dumped bodies of victims somewhere else to minimize riot-related crimes in their areas.
Acting in connivance with the government, the portal says, the police did not allow the riot victims to file FIRs or when they filed FIRs, they clubbed disparate, unconnected cases of murder and arson in one FIR.
Making startling revelations, the portal claimed that messages were broadcast directing police not to take action against rioters who were shouting slogans of ‘Indira Gandhi zindabad’.
Some of them also confessed that the then government did not allow the police to act, while creating an impression that the police were not performing their duty. Also the senior officers did not allow their subordinates to open fire on rioters and did not act even when some press reporters informed them of killing and arson all around the capital.
Even the Fire Brigade refused to move to areas where cases of arson had been reported by police, claims the portal.
During the interview, the then Kalyanpuri SHO Shoorveer Singh Tyagi, who is alleged to have disarmed Sikhs and forced them out of a gurdwara in Trilokpuri making them vulnerable to rioters, reveals that then Police commissioner SC Tandon became a willing partner in this mayhem by abdicating his responsibility as upholder of law and order.
"So, knowingly or unknowingly, he was under the influence of the government. He mismanaged in the beginning and in the first two days the situation went out of control," he told this website.
"Had they provided us with sufficient force on the very first day, people would have felt its pressure. They created this impression that the police are inactive," he added.
Another police official, SN Bhaskar claims that he sent messages to the Police Control Room informing them of the prevailing sentiments against the Sikh community but was refused reinforcement.