1984 Riot: Victim’s family hails verdict, wants death for 2nd convict too

Hardev Singh, a Class 12 passout then, was set afire by convicts Yashpal Singh and Naresh Sehrawat, who were his friends
Santokh Singh, 71, brother of victim Hardev Singh, with wife(HT File Photo)
Santokh Singh, 71, brother of victim Hardev Singh, with wife(HT File Photo)
Published on Nov 21, 2018 07:36 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Jalandhar | ByJatinder Mahal, Jalandhar

It was a long wait for justice — 34 years to be precise — for Santokh Singh, who had lost his younger brother Hardev Singh in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi.

Hardev, who had passed out Class 12 then, was set afire by his friends Yashpal Singh and Naresh Sehrawat on October 31, 1984. A Delhi court awarded death sentence to Yashpal and life imprisonment to Naresh for killing Hardev and Avtar Singh. The two were also convicted for injuring Surjeet Singh, Sangat Singh and Kuldeep Singh.

Santokh, however, said the court should have given death to the other accused as well, adding the family will file an appeal in the apex court in this regard.

“Accused Yashpal Singh was a close friend of my brother and they used to study together at a school in Mahipalpur in south Delhi. Sehrawat was a regular visitor at our shop,” Santokh said, who lodged a complaint against the accused at the Vasant Kunj police station in 1993.

“Both of them should be hanged to death. They deserve to die for what they did to us. My younger brother, who was still unmarried, was murdered brutally by his friends,” Santokh said over the phone from Delhi.

He said they will also approach the court for a fresh trial against one JP Singh, who is accused of leading the mob that killed Sikh in the area. The family left Delhi in 1985 and settled down in Daroli Kalan village in Adampur, Jalandhar.

Santokh was running a shop in Delhi and he called his younger brother Hardev to live with him. He admitted him in Class 11, where he became friends with Yashpal.

Delhi Police had closed the case in 1994 for want of evidence. However, a special investigation team (SIT), which was constituted in 2015, reopened the case.

It was the worst day of my life: Survivor

Kuldeep Singh, one of the riot survivors, said he was only 17-year-old then. He said a mob of around 80 people turned up armed with iron rods, hockey sticks, stones, kerosene oil, etc.

Kuldeep said his neighbour Surjeet Singh told him that mobs were killing Sikhs and they went to latter’s house after shutting down the shops. “However, the mob followed us and we hid in a first-floor room. But the mob broke open the door and the grilles and beat us up badly,” Kuldeep said.

“Some people came out in my defence to not harm me as I was very young. But Sehrawat and Yashpal yelled that they won’t leave anybody and kill us,” he said.

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