Who is Sajjan Kumar, convicted in 1984 anti-Sikh riots?

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent
Dec 17, 2018 04:40 PM IST

1984 anti-Sikh riots: The Delhi High Court has held Congress leader Sajjan Kumar guilty in the murders of five members of a Sikh family in the aftermath of the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Sajjan Kumar is a senior Congress leader who was convicted and sent to life imprisonment in the 1984 anit-Sikh riots case.

Congress leader Sajjan Kumar leaves Patiala House court in New Delhi.(PTI FILE PHOTO)
Congress leader Sajjan Kumar leaves Patiala House court in New Delhi.(PTI FILE PHOTO)

Kumar is charged with involvement in the killing of five members of a Sikh family — Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh — by a mob.

First elected to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in 1977, he was sworn in as the Delhi Councillor the same year. An active politician from Delhi, he went on to win the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Outer Delhi.

On November 1, 1984, Sajjan Kumar, according to witnesses, had incited mobs to attack the Sikh community to avenge the assassination of their “mother” then-prime minister Indira Gandhi of Congress, who was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards a day earlier.

Read: ‘Will pay for sins’: Arun Jaitley targets Congress after Sajjan Kumar conviction

Investigations into the role of leaders like Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler were re-opened after around 10 commissions and committees of inquiry found what they termed ‘credible evidence’.

The case against Kumar was registered in 2005 on a recommendation by Justice G T Nanavati Commission. CBI had filed two charge sheets against him and the other accused in January 2010.

In 2012, the CBI charge sheet said rioters had the political patronage of Sajjan Kumar.

However, he was acquitted by a lower court in Delhi in 2013, which was challenged by the CBI.

However, a trial court had acquitted him in the case, but awarded life term to former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and a three-year jail term to two others — former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

The high court on Monday overturned the lower court’s order and sentenced Sajjan Kumar to life imprisonment.

The sentencing comes weeks after the Delhi high court had upheld the conviction of 88 of 107 people arrested in connection with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The 88 had been arrested in East Delhi’s Trilokpuri area and were sentenced to 5-year jail terms each by a trial court in 1996 for rioting, burning houses and curfew violations.

In another case of murder of two men, a Delhi court had on November 20 awarded the death penalty to one convict and life imprisonment to another.

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