Government officials who neglect their duties and shut their eyes on rioters should be declared an accessory to violence, former Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court Justice Anil Dev Singh said on the 32nd anniversary of the 1984 Anti-Sikh pogroms.
Speaking at a panel discussion on ‘The legal aftermath of 1984 and the way forward’ organised by the Sikh Forum to commemorate the riots, Justice Singh, who had enhanced the compensation to the riot victims during his tenure as a judge in the Delhi High Court in 1996, also termed as “unfortunate” that witnesses of the massacre were not given any protection.
“It is unfortunate that no protection has been given to the witnesses of ’84 riots. There is a need to strike terror in perpetrators and they must be punished.
“Government officials who neglect their duties and close their eyes on rioters, should be declared an accessory to riots,” he said.
Expressing similar views, senior advocate H S Phoolka, one of the panelists and a crusader of the anti-Sikh riot victims, said, “We will not give up till we bring perpetrators to books and will fight for justice so that no political leader misuses his powers. No one is above the country and its law.”
The senior advocate also said that the massacre cannot be forgotten as similar riots have been repeated in later years as perpetrators have gone unpunished.
“Had the perpetrators of the riots been punished instead of victims being compensated, the ’84 riot like situation wouldn’t have repeated in the the form of 1993 Babri Masjid, 2002 Godhra riots and 2014 Muzaffarnagar violence,” Phoolka said, adding, “We will not give up till we bring the criminals to book and will fight for justice so that no politician misuses his powers.”
Urging for a stringent law to hold government officials responsible for acts of violence, senior advocate Vrinda Grover said, “Public servants commit crimes but due to the loopholes in the system they are not held liable