Delhi: Protest continues against Sajjan acquittal
Anger and outrage over Congress leader Sajjan Kumar's acquittal in an 1984 anti-Sikh riots case poured into Delhi streets for fourth day on Friday, with one of the riot victims starting an indefinite fast while scores of people blocked a busy road triggering huge traffic snarl.delhi Updated: May 03, 2013 17:06 IST
Anger and outrage over Congress leader Sajjan Kumar's acquittal in an 1984 anti-Sikh riots case poured into Delhi streets for fourth day on Friday, with one of the riot victims starting an indefinite fast while scores of people blocked a busy road triggering huge traffic snarl.
While riot victim Nirpreet Kaur began an indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar, riot-affected families blocked the busy Mathura Road near Nizamuddin in south Delhi on Friday morning.
The blockade led to a huge traffic pile up on the road which connects south Delhi to the heart of the capital.
Aam Aadmi Party leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Kumar Vishwas along with their supporters also joined Kaur's protest while local BJP leader Vijender Gupta had to leave the venue after some people objected to his presence.
The AAP leaders sat on a one-day fast to express solidarity with the protesters.
On the Mathura Road, a large number of protesters squatted and shouted slogans against the UPA government and Congress, blocking traffic on the road.
Commuters were put to hardship due to the protest for which police had deployed a large number of personnel to maintain calm. Rapid Action Force was also deployed in large numbers.
At the fast venue, Kaur said the riot-affected families had expected that they would get justice but the verdict given by the court had "shaken" their faith in the system.
She demanded that a Special Investigation Team be constituted which would investigate the case independently.
Kaur also demanded an appeal be filed in a higher court against the acquittal of Kumar, and that the case be heard and decided in three months time.
"I lost my father during the riots. In 1984, more than 10,000 Sikhs were murdered. Our judiciary failed to do justice even after 29 years," Kaur claimed.
Another victim, who was 14-year-old when the riots happened, shared her experiences. "We took shelter in a Hindu family's house. I still remember how we had to shave off our heads so that nobody can recognise that we are Sikhs," Jamshed Singh said.
"They murdered my father, brother and husband in front of my eyes. I escaped with my kids to save them from atrocities. I could not even perform their last rites for four days," another victim Jaspreet Kaur said.
The national capital has been witnessing protests since Tuesday evening after the verdict acquitting Kumar was pronounced in a Karkardooma court, where a shoe was flung at the judge.
Outraged Sikhs have also been protesting outside Congress president Sonia Gandhi's 10 Janpath residence for the past two days.
The fast site also witnessed some drama when Vijender Gupta, former Delhi BJP president, had to beat a hasty retreat from the venue after people objected to his presence.
The protesters, at an indefinite fast venue, started opposing the presence of Gupta, the former Delhi BJP chief, at the spot alleging that his intentions were "political".
The protest at Jantar Mantar was however attended by Aam
"I have no political motive. We just want to tell the anti-Sikh riot victims that we are with them in their fight for justice. The riots were no less than mass murder and if timely action would have been taken, this injustice would not have taken place," Gupta told reporters as he left the venue.
The BJP leader had reached the venue and sat on the dais along with Kejriwal. After sometime, some of the protesters objected to the presence of Gupta.
"Whenever two political parties will be at the same place, the atmosphere will be obviously sensitive. We have no political motive, we came like a common man, not like Aam Aadmi Party workers who are donning their usual caps," Gupta said.
Gupta said he came here today to extend his support and will come tomorrow as well.
When some BJP workers who accompanied Gupta pointed out that the AAP leader was sitting on the dais when the protesters claimed that it was apolitical, Kejriwal announced that they will sit along with other protesters.
However, after Gupta left, organisers requested Kejriwal to come on to the dais which he accepted.
Meanwhile, the protests against the acquittal of the Sajjan Kumar in 1984 riots continued for the fourth day in Jammu.
Members of Sikh community held a protest in Simbal area here.
"It is injustice with the Sikh community. We demand that he should be jailed," one of the protesters said.
The agitating protesters raised slogans against Kumar.
"He was directly involved in the riots. He was responsible for the killing of innocent Sikhs," a protester alleged.
At Phagwara in Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) activists held a protest last evening against the acquittal of Kumar.
SAD activists assembled near a petrol pump on Mehtan-Mehli Phagwara bypass and set ablaze an effigy of the Union government.
Shouting slogans, the protesters demanded punishment for Kumar and justice for the riot victims.
First Published: May 03, 2013 17:00 IST