1984 victims withdraw plea against Sajjan

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.

1984 riots: CBI says eyewitness are trustworthy

In Delhi CBI told in court here that the complainant in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and five others are facing trial is an “eyewitness” to the killings and her statement is “trustworthy”.

Advancing final arguments before District Judge JR

Aryan, senior advocate RS Cheema, appearing for CBI, said complainant Jagdish Kaur had “seen the killings in front of her and she has neither changed her stand nor tried to exaggerate the facts in the court”.

Kaur had lost her husband, a young son and three brothers during the riots.

“She saw her husband and son being killed by the mob in front of her eyes and she also lost her three brothers during the riots.

“She is a person of extra ordinary courage and memory who is doing everything to get justice. She is a witness of truth and has not changed her stand,” the counsel submitted.

He said she had not attempted to name in her affidavits those persons whom she had not seen during the riots.

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 the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

Advocate Anil Sharma, counsel for the accused, had earlier contended that there were several contradictions in the statements of the witnesses. The counsel had questioned the “conduct” of Jagdish Kaur.

Meanwhile, Jagdish Kaur and another witness Nirpreet Kaur moved an application in the court seeking for permission to bring two news articles of 1984 about Sajjan Kumar of 1984.

They have also sought the court’s permission to summon editors of the two English dailies.