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Victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots withdrew their plea seeking permission to bring on record two news articles of about the alleged role of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the massacre after a Delhi court assured them that it would look into the issue.

District Judge J R Aryan refused to summon the editors of the two English dailies in which the articles had appeared saying that at this stage it would delay the proceedings.

The court has fixed the case for April 3 as the last day for the counsel of CBI, the accused and the victims to conclude their arguments in the case.

Senior advocate H S Phoolka, appearing for the victims, withdrew the application after the court told them that it will look into the content of Sajjan’s plea that if he had done whatever has now been alleged against him, at least one paper would have published the news in 1984.

“It is for the court to see what is the value of this plea raised by Sajjan Kumar during final arguments and if the editors of these newspapers are summoned at this stage, it would delay the proceedings,” according to the judge.

Phoolka, referring to the two newspapers clippings which had mentioned Sajjan’s role in 1984 riots, said “the assertion made on behalf of accused Sajjan Kumar is incorrect and misleading. These assertions are made for the first time during the written arguments…”

“It is submitted that reports about the complicity of Sajjan Kumar in the riots were published widely in the media across the country,” the plea filed by victims and witnesses Jagdish Kaur and Nirpreet Kaur said.

Sajjan Kumar is facing trial along with five others – Balwan Khokkar, Kishan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal – for allegedly inciting a mob against the Sikh community in Delhi Cantonment area.

The case relates to anti-Sikh riots that had broken out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

Phoolka, assisted by advocate Kamna Vohra, argued that for the first time this plea was raised by Sajjan during the arguments and it was not there during cross-examination of the witnesses nor when his statement was recorded in the court.

“It is, therefore, prayed that this court on the basis of incriminating evidence on record punish the guilty, accused persons, particularly Sajjan Kumar, the main conspirator, and exemplary punishment should be given to them to send a strong message to the society that no one is above law and tampering with law and secular fabric of the country will be dealt with strictly,” according to him.

The case against Sajjan 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.

The trial court had framed charges against Kumar and the five others under Sections 302 (murder), 395 (dacoity), 427 (mischief to cause damage to property), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities) and other provisions of the IPC.

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