Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s surrender to serve his life term following his conviction in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case has brought relief to Sikh leaders but they have vowed to continue their fight till everyone involved in the carnage is brought to justice.
Kumar, 73, surrendered before Metropolitan Magistrate Aditi Garg who directed that he be lodged in Mandoli jail in northeast Delhi. The Delhi High Court had set a deadline of December 31 for him to surrender and on December 21 declined his plea to extend the time by a month.
The high court on December 17 convicted and sentenced Kumar to life imprisonment for the “remainder of his natural life”. After his conviction, Kumar resigned from the Congress.
Calling it a “big relief” for the victims who have been fighting for justice for the past 34 years, Shiromani Akali Dal member Manjinder Singh Sirsa said “millions of people who have harboured the pain of 1984 in their hearts want to see big fish Sajjan Kumar surrender which will be the beginning of justice and punishment of main leaders involved in killing of Sikhs”.
“We will not rest till everyone guilty in the anti-Sikh 1984 riots are brought to justice,” he said.
Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president, Manjit Singh GK, said Kumar going behind bars would encourage other witnesses, who were scared earlier, to come forward.
“We will also demand day-to-day trials into the deaths of witnesses who wanted to come forward,” he told PTI.
RP Singh, BJP National Secretary, said it is a “big big day” for the Sikhs. “This sends the message across that no one will escape (guilty in 1984 anti-Sikh riots) and we demand Kamal Nath (MP chief minister) and (Congress leader Jagdish) Tytler be convicted for their crimes too,” Singh said.
The case in which Kumar was convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar Part-I area in Palam Colony of southwest Delhi on November 1-2, 1984 and burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar Part-II.
The riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her two Sikh bodyguards.