SIT to file charge sheet in 11 anti-Sikh riots cases in Kanpur
The special investigation team (SIT) is set to submit a chargesheet in 11 cases of heinous crimes pertaining to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur, said people privy to the development. The SIT will appeal in the Allahabad high court in four other cases connected to the riots, they added.
Kanpur was the second worst-affected city after Delhi during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. As many as 127 Sikhs were killed in Kanpur during the riots.
The Uttar Pradesh government had formed the SIT in May 2019 on Supreme Court orders.
During three years of the probe, SIT identified 83 accused allegedly involved in murder, rioting, arson and loot in these cases. Verification revealed that 20 of the 83 accused had died.
The remaining 63 accused—aged between 65 and 80 years now—will face trial after the chargesheet is submitted in the court.
Apart from identification, the SIT gathered evidences and examined witnesses in four states.
As many as 135 witnesses recorded their statements under Section 164 of the CrPC before the competent magistrate in Kanpur, people familiar with the matter said.
The SIT head and former Uttar Pradesh director general of police Atul (he goes by one name) said the investigation made significant headway.
“Many people have been identified and hundreds of witnesses examined. The analysis of each case and documentation was going on and after that we will decide further steps,” he said.
The SIT was formed in May 2019 to look into the cases of heinous nature that happened during the riots. A total of 1,251 riots-related cases were registered in Kanpur—40 of them were under heinous crimes.
These 40 cases were taken up for investigation by the SIT comprising an SP-rank officer, two inspectors, 10 sub-inspectors and a former retired district judge Subhash Chandra Agarwal, who helps with the legal aspects.
Earlier, of these 40 cases, the police had closed 29 by filing the final report in the court till 1988. The chargesheet was filed in 11 cases. During the trial, all the accused were acquitted for want of evidence. The complainants did not appeal against the verdict.
“Since there are rules to destroy case-related documents within five years, most of the records were weeded out accordingly,” said the people familiar with the matter.
In that situation, the SIT focused on documents related to the Justice Rangnath Mishra Commission report. It found 657 affidavits of victims and witnesses who had settled elsewhere. Similarly, another set of 135 affidavits were found in the ministry of home affairs.
These victims were traced in four states, including Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, and they were approached. More documents related to the cases were shared. These, along with the ground work, helped the SIT in identification of the 83 accused, one of them a retired excise officer.
“The SIT is moving to the court under Section 173 (8) of the CrPC seeking to file chargesheet in light of new evidences that have come to the fore,” said people familiar with the matter. It would appeal in the Allahabad high court for reopening four cases. One more appeal by a plaintiff is pending.
“The chargesheets will be filed soon and it will be up to the court to proceed further in these cases,” said people privy to the development.
In order to make the cases more foolproof, SIT managed to obtain FIRs, death certificates and medical reports from the Lala Lajpat Rai (LLR) and Ursula Horsman Memorial (UHM) hospitals in Kanpur.
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