Sajjan Kumar Verdict a Part of the Ongoing Victimization of 1984 Survivors: WSO

Ottawa (April 30, 2013):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada expresses its disappointment with the not-guilty verdict pronounced by a Delhi court in the case of Sajjan Kumar, a senior Congress leader and former MP who was accused of orchestrating the massacre of Sikhs in November 1984.

On Tuesday, Delhi District and Sessions Judge JR Aryan acquitted Kumar while convicting three others of murder - Balwan Khokkar, an ex-councillor, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal.  Mahender Yadav, an ex-MLA and Kishan Khokkar were convicted  by the court of “rioting”.

The decision comes 29 years after genocidal killing of Sikhs across India, following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

In 2010, the Supreme Court of India refused to quash the charges against Kumar and criticized India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for delaying the case and failing to conclude its arguments in a timely manner.

Before being handed over to the CBI in 2005, the investigation into the cases had been conducted by the Delhi Police.  The CBI told the court that there was a conspiracy of "terrifying proportion" between Kumar and the police and that the police had kept its "eyes closed" during the violence.  The CBI further alleged that Kumar’s name was systematically eliminated by the Delhi Police from all records and complaints.

According to figures, only 10 murder cases involving the killing of Sikhs in November 1984 have ended in convictions. 

Kumar still awaits a decision in another case involving the killing of five Sikhs in Sultanpuri and for a charge of “spreading enmity between two communities.”

Reacting to Kumar’s acquittal, WSO senior policy advisor Gian Singh Sandhu said, “this verdict is only the latest in a series of disappointments that have spanned 29 years.  This is a lower court decision that will now be appealed to the High Court and then to the Supreme Court.  Given the time that has already elapsed, it’s likely that many of the victims will not live to see this case reach its final conclusion.”

WSO President Prem Singh Vinning said, “the proceedings against Sajjan Kumar have been plagued by allegations of witness tampering, intimidation and collusion by the Delhi Police.  It’s certainly surprising that the testimony of the witnesses in this case was accepted against five accused but that same testimony was not accepted against Kumar. This entire process has been yet another example of the ongoing victimization of the survivors of November 1984, many of whom have now lost hope of ever seeing justice served.”

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

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