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Nanavati submits report on 1984 riots
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 9
Justice G.T. Nanavati Commission set up by the previous NDA government to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots afresh, today submitted its report to the Union Home Minister after nearly five-year-long proceedings during which he examined hundreds of witnesses and several Congress leaders against whom there were allegations of "organising and instigating" the attacks on Sikhs after Indira Gandhi's assassination.

After submitting the two volume report to Home Minister Shivraj Patil at his North Block office here, Justice Nanavati refused to say a word about the conclusions drawn by him about the massacre of nearly 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi within four days after the assassination of Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her two Sikh security guards.

"I am not going to say a word about the report," he told the media at his Tuglak lane residence later.

"I have submitted my report to the government, which has to take action on it on the basis of the recommendations made, or make it public," said Justice Nanavati, a former Supreme Court judge who headed the one-man commission, appointed by the NDA government on May 8, 2000.

Asked whether the people who had high expectations from him, would be satisfied of his findings, he said "I can't say anything about it. It is for them to decide."

When pressed further whether he was satisfied about his work and the conclusions drawn by him, Justice Nanavati said "It is not the question of my satisfaction... I will speak about it at an appropriate time but not now."

"I had made it clear to the government that I would not speak to the media about the report at the time of its submission," he said.

He said the first 185-page volume contained the main report and the second volume consisted of annexures and some other important documents.

The commission had given its findings mainly on four counts, which was the terms of reference made to it by the government for probe. Those included (i) to enquire into the causes criminal violence and riots targeting Sikh Community, (ii) the sequence of the events leading to such violence and whether the riots could have been averted, any derelication of duty by officers responsible, (iii) to enquire into the adequacy of administrative measures taken to prevent and deal with the riots and (iv) recommend measures which may be adopted to meet the ends of justice.

When his attention was drawn to recent reports in a section of the media that some Congress leaders had been indicted and some had been given clean chit, Justice Nanavati said "I have not spoken to anyone about my findings. The hearing of the commission was open to the media and several documents filed before it were available to them. If someone has drawn any conclusion on the basis of those documents and proceedings, it must be his own views."

The prominent Congress leaders examined by the commission, included former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao who was the Home Minister in 1984, Vasant Sathe, Kamal Nath and three Delhi Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and Dharamdas Shastri against whom there were allegations of "active involvement in instigating" the mobs against Sikhs. Sajjan Kumar had faced trial in a case, but was acquitted by the Sessions Court.

Another Congress strongman from Delhi, H.K.L. Bhagat, who also faced trial in two cases but acquitted due to the key witnesses turning hostile, refused to appear before the commission on health ground.

The commission, which was given at least eight extensions to complete its inquiry, had also examined several top Delhi Police officers, including Special Commissioner Seva Das, who was then the DCP, East Delhi, where maximum people were killed, Joint Commissioner U. K. Katna then DCP West Delhi, another area of major violence and

Goa Police Commissioner Amodh Kanth, who was then DCP, Central Delhi.

The panel had also examined the then Commissioner of Police S.C. Tandon and Joint Commissioner Gautam Kaul.

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