Anti-Sikh Riots 1984: Crimes Against Humanity observes Delhi High Court

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Reversing the acquittal of the Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and also affirming the involvement and conviction of 4 other person in the Anti- Sikh Riots of 1984. The Delhi High Court noticed that these kinds of crimes, which are at mass should be dealt with a different approach.

The HC bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel considered the concept of ‘crimes against humanity’, which was first coined in the joint declaration by the governments of Russia, Britain and France in May 1915 against government of Turkey in respect of the mass killings of the Armenians by the kurds and Turks with the help of the Ottoman administration.

The High Court noticed that the mass killings in the Anti-Sikhs riots in 1984 which the aftermath of assassination was of Smt. Indira Gandhi, in which over 2,700 Sikhs were murdered in Delhi alone and nearly 3,350 all over the country as per the official figures. The Court noticed that this was neither the first instance of mass killings, nor the last. There was a twofold strategy adopted by the attackers. First was to liquidate all Sikh males and the other was to destroy their residential houses leaving the women and children utterly destitute observed the High Court.

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The Court observed that the common features of these mass-crimes are “The criminals responsible for the mass crimes have enjoyed political patronage and managed to evade prosecution and punishment. Bringing such criminals to justice poses a serious challenge to our legal system”

The Court also suggested changes in the laws related to ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide’ and stated that neither “genocide” nor “crimes against humanity” are part of our domestic law and this loophole is needed to be patched urgently.

The Court came down on the Delhi police for indirectly helping a rioters. The Delhi police established their “apathy” and “active connivance” in the brutal murders stated the court. The bench noticed that there were 341 deaths in 4 days in Delhi cantonment area and only 21 FIRs were registered, of which only 15 related to murders and court also found that there were repeated efforts by the Delhi police to temper and manipulate with the statement of the witness.

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“The police indeed turned a blind eye and blatantly abetted the crimes committed by the rioting mob. The investigation by the local police was a farce. The State machinery came to a complete standstill in those two or three days when the rioting mobs took to the streets and indulged in acts of violence and killings, and setting properties on fire”, it said, the victims of the riots had all the reasons to believe that they had been left out by the police, it was only after in 2005 when the CBI took over the investigations the victims gathered the courage to testify. The High Courts looked downed upon the trial court for ignoring the testimonies of witness against Sajjan Kumar but accepted testimonies in relation to other accused person. Sajjan Kumar has been given life imprisonment for the reminders of his life for the charges including murder, rioting, destruction of property, and promoting communal an outraging criminal elements and he has been asked to surrender before December.

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