Ottawa (January 25, 2020): The World Sikh Organization of Canada views the Report by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by former Delhi High Court judge, Justice S.N. Dhingra as another dead-end for the victims of the 1984 Sikh Genocide.
Although the Report has been submitted to the Government of India under “sealed covers,” details have emerged in the Indian media.
The latest SIT, the 11th commission of inquiry into the 1984 Sikh Genocide, was struck by the Supreme Court of India in January 2018 and was mandated to prepare its report by March 2018. The long-delayed Report found that none of the 199 riot cases it investigated - accounting for 426 murders, can be re-opened or investigated afresh. The SIT found that the “lack of interest shown by the police and by the authorities in handling these cases” during the initial stages and the way in which the judiciary “routinely” handed out acquittals to those accused, resulted in “no possibility of further investigation” in any of the 199 cases.
The Report found that the judicial system frustrated the search for justice by not treating the 1984 Sikh Genocide cases seriously. The Report states, “In almost all cases, the Trial Judges… rejected the testimonies of witnesses on the ground of delay in filing FIRs, delay in recording statement of witnesses… none of the judges were alive to the situation of 1984 riots and were alive to the fact that for delay in lodging FIRs and statements of witnesses, the victims were not responsible,”
The Report also found that police assisted the genocidal mobs and refused to file murder cases when they could not recognize a body and no efforts were made to identify such bodies.
In an interview with Outlook India, Justice Dhingra said, “the police force and even some members of the judiciary connived to derail the investigation and trial in these cases when they were first registered”.
WSO President Tejinder Singh Sidhu said today,
“The SIT Report confirms what Sikhs have known for the past 35 years- the Indian system is not concerned with delivering justice for the victims of the 1984 Sikh Genocide.
The judiciary and police have deliberately failed to pursue these cases. Victims and witnesses have been threatened and harassed for over three decades and many have now passed away or are unable to participate in the judicial process.
There is very little happening in India to give the victims of the 1984 Sikh Genocide hope. Kamal Nath, who is accused of leading a mob that burnt Sikhs alive, is today the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. Just this week it was reported that advocate HS Phoolka, who has pursued many of the 1984 Sikh Genocide cases, has received threats to his life. Neither crimes against humanity or genocide are part of India’s domestic law of crime and no attempts are underway to address this.
It is clear that Sikhs can expect more of the same from India and there continues to be no motivation to deliver justice for the 1984 Sikh Genocide.”
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 of all individuals.