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Finally, some solace for riot-hit
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 9
Almost 25 years after the 1984 anti-Sikh riots - that was followed up by two commissions and eight separate enquiry committees set up by various governments - the Sikh community may have finally got some justice, if not total justice.

The withdrawal of the party ticket to Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar may not be a judicial victory but is being seen as a moral victory.

For 25 years the hurt of the community was visible. Educated Sikhs often questioned how the media and NGOs were only advocating the cause of the Gujarat riot victims. Innocent Sikhs had been killed by rampaging mobs in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. Almost all enquiry committees named Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, among others.

In the case of Tytler the CBI clean chit a few days was the trigger. The CBI was probing the “Gurdwara Pul Bangash” incident. In the case of Sajjan Kumar the CBI is still probing three cases and the report is likely to be “adverse”. The three cases have been referred to the CBI by the home ministry. These are registered in the Delhi Cant police station. In this case five witnesses have recorded their statements under Section 164 of the CrPC. Two other cases are pending in Sultanpuri and Mongolpuri that are being probed by the CBI.

The proverbial final nail in the coffin was the GT Nanavati Commission. The commission said there was “credible evidence” against Tytler and Sajjan Kumar for instigating the mobs to violence. The commission also held the then police commissioner S.C. Tandon directly responsible for the riots.

The battle for Sikhs has been long. The first committee was the Ved Marwah committee. This was asked to enquire into the role of the police during the carnage. Marwah completed his inquiry towards the middle of 1985. He was asked by the home ministry not to proceed any further. Marwah, an IPS officer, later went on to become a Governor.

The first commission to be set up was the Justice Ranganath Misra Commission. It suggested the formation of three committees while it refused to identify any person, saying that was not its mandate. The Kapur-Mittal committee was the first one. It identified a total of 72 police officers for their connivance or gross negligence. It also recommended dismissal of 30 police officers.

The Jain-Banerjee committee recommended registration of cases against Sajjan Kumar. But no case was registered. The Potti-Rosha Committee was appointed by V.P. Singh. It also wanted a case registered against Sajjan Kumar. The Jain-Aggarwal committee replaced the Potti-Rosha committee. It dittoed the recommendation of registering cases against H.K.L. Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar, Dharamdas Shastri and Jagdish Tytler. The Narula Committee set up by the Madan Lal Khurana government of Delhi also recommended the same.

Two others committees - the Ahuja committee said 2,733 Sikhs were killed in Delhi alone and the Gurdial Singh Dhillon committee recommended measures for the rehabilitation of the victims.

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