Indian politician Sajjan Kumar gets life over 1984 anti-Sikh riots

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The Delhi high court judgement which has found Congress leader Sajjan Kumar guilty in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, has also exposed how protectors turned predators in Delhi during the riots.

BJP president Amit Shah on Monday seized on the conviction of Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case to target the Congress, saying no one had any doubt on its role in the riots and alleged its "leaders and workers went on rampage raising provocative slogans" and "murdering men in cold blood". "Following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, on the morning of October 31, 1984, by two of her Sikh bodyguards, a communal frenzy was unleashed".

Gandhi belonged to the INC and her sensational assassination had led to violence on the streets of Delhi and neighbouring states wherein enraged mobs targeted the Sikh community, killing many of them in the process. An Indian court has convicted Kumar of helping incite violence during anti-Sikh pogroms that left thousands of people dead. "It is the court's decision and we accept it", he added.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday also hailed the conviction of Sajjan Kumar and said that the leader should be given a death sentence.

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"It was an extraordinary case where it was going to be impossible to proceed against Sajjan Kumar in the normal scheme of things as there appeared to be ongoing large-scale efforts to suppress cases against him by not even recording them", the court said.

One witness said she had seen him addressing a crowd, telling them that Sikhs had killed "his mother" - a reference to Mrs Gandhi.

Most damningly, Justices Muralidhar and Goel also said that it seems like her original statement to the Ranganath Misra Commission in 1985 - in which she named Kumar - has been lost in "crude, erroneous and perhaps motivated translation".

"Thirty-seven years later, the country was again witness to another enormous human tragedy". In fact, in most cases, riots were staged - cleverly planned for political mileage and under the patronage of politicians enjoying unlimited power. "You say that the Congress party was involved in that, I don't agree".

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Sikhs make up about two percent of India's population. There are significant Sikh communities in Canada, the UK, US and Australia. In his order on April 30, 2013, the district and sessions judge convicted five accused, including Congress MLA Mahender Yadav and counsellor Balwan Khokhar who were both sentenced to life.

There are other cases pending in the courts, including one against former Congress minister Jagdish Tytler, who denies any hand in anti-Sikh violence.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal welcomed the verdict convicting the 73-year-old Congress leader.

"Justice for the victims of 1984 was buried by the Congress".

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