Victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots from Kanpur filed yet another petition with the Supreme Court on Friday, April 7, 2017. They sought a Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) probe through a special investigation team (SIT), into the murder of over 127 people during the riots.
The petitioners Manjit Singh GK (president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee), and others, demanded the re-investigation of at least seven cases registered at Bazaria and Nazirabad police stations that had been closed by the police for want of evidence.
The victims allege that despite a lapse of 33 years and availability of clear and cogent data, the Central and Uttar Pradesh (UP) governments have not taken any action to punish the accused persons. Nor have these been able to provide justice, rehabilitation or compensation to the riot victims.
Advocate Prasoon Kumar will be representing the victims of the said riots. “It is an irony that in the city of Kanpur, in the knowledge of petitioners, 127 persons belonging to the Sikh community were brutally murdered/ burnt to death in different police station areas, however, none of the police stations is even ready to acknowledge their deaths,” he said.
The bench consisting of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar have tagged the fresh plea with another similar petition and posted the matter for April 24, 2017.
A Quick Flashback
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots, also known as ‘1984 Sikh Genocide’, involved the massacre of thousands of Sikhs across the length and breadth of India, by anti-Sikh mobs, particularly by members of the Congress party. This was in response to the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, by her Sikh bodyguards. Unofficially, there was an estimate of 8,000 Sikhs who died in the massacre, 127 of whom were killed in Kanpur.
As per reports, while a curfew had been imposed across the country on October 31, 1984, in Kanpur it was not imposed until November 1, 1984, as a result of which riotous mobs roamed around freely causing havoc. There are also allegations that the State provided inadequate police force to control the riots.
While many police officers were suspended, the punishment is yet to be implemented. The plea with the Supreme Court stated, “It is pertinent to mention here that the state police machinery is not in a position to do a fair, just and reasonable attempt to apprehend the accused and compensate the victims as per law.”
Another Petition in the Apex Court
Parallel to the petition in the Supreme Court, another petition by S Gurlad Singh Kahlon, a member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, is being heard at the Apex court.
- On March 24, the bench decided to examine 199 files that were closed by the SIT 32 years ago, in 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
- It directed the Home Ministry to place on record files pertaining to these cases for examination.
- According to the Home Ministry, a total of 293 cases were taken up by the SIT, out of which 199 cases were closed after scrutiny.
- 35 cases were taken for preliminary enquiry and of these, enquiry is complete in 28 cases.
- Seven cases were still pending.
- In addition, 59 cases were sent for further investigation.
- Closure reports were filed in 42 cases and 13 are pending. Charge sheets were filed in four cases.