Large-scale protests were witnessed in the Karkardooma court premises after the District and Sessions Judge J R Aryan acquitted 1984 anti-Sikh riots accused Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and convicted five others.
The anti-Sikh riots in which an estimated 3,000 Sikhs were murdered, happened after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh Bodyguards on October, 31, 1984.
The court acquitted Kumar of charges that he led a group of people who killed five Sikhs in Raj Nagar locality of Delhi cantonment area. The five others convicted by the court are former Congress MLA Mahender Yadav, former Congress councillor Balwan Khokkar, Kishan Khokkar, Captain Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal.
Dozens of people gathered inside and outside the court premises as the hearing was on. After Kumar’s acquittal was announced, a man hurled a shoe at the judge, following which he was detained. As the news spread, an angry crowd standing outside the court complex started entering the premises even as police tried to prevent them.
Jagdish Kaur, a witness and complainant in the case, sat in protest inside the courtroom, after the verdict was announced. Speaking to the media, she said, “I will not leave the court premises, till I get justice, and justice is done in the case. Hang me if you cannot give me justice. Sajjan Kumar was the main accused, yet he was released. My son, my husband and his brothers were murdered, people were burnt alive, and yet we have got no justice.”
Riot victims’ advocate H S Phoolka said Delhi police had covered up for Kumar. He said, “six police officers appeared as defence witnesses and said eyewitnesses are lying.”
Kumar still faces trial in another 1984 rioting case. In a third case, Delhi Police has filed a closure report, saying there was no evidence. Kumar’s acquittal evoked sharp reactions from Shiromani Akali Dal which said it would not allow the Congress to put a lid on this biggest-ever massacre.