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Nanavati Implicates Sajjan Kumar and Others in 1994 Sikh Massacres
The Economic Times, New Delhi, Sep. 8, 2004
Photo: G.T. Nanavati.
In a major embarrassment for the Congress, the Nanavati panel probing the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom has found evidence pointing to party M.P. Sajjan Kumar's involvement in the riots.
A private television channel on Wednesday quoted Justice G.T. Nanavati, who heads the commission probing the riots that followed the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi, as saying that he had found evidence pointing to Sajjan Kumar's involvement in the riots.
'The Commission has evidence about Mr. Kumar leading mobs during the riot,' Justice Nanavati said. The panel is expected to submit its report in November.
Human rights groups that probed the 1984 violence which claimed over 2,300 lives in the national capital have been accusing the Congress leader of killing innocent Sikhs. Apart from Kumar, two prominent members of Manmohan Singh's ministerial team, too, were accused of inciting mobs during the riot.
The Delhi Police had earlier closed all cases against Sajjan Kumar without filing any chargesheet in the court against him. The only case where a chargesheet was filed, was by the C.B.I. on the basis of a complaint from Anwar Kaur that Sajjan Kumar led a mob that killed her husband Navin Singh at Sultanpuri in west Delhi.
The C.B.I. had chargesheeted Kumar and 12 others for the offence. But a Delhi court in 2002 acquitted them for lack of evidence. The C.B.I., however, appealed against the acquittal in the Delhi High Court, and hearings in the case are still on.
The development cannot but be discomfiting for the Congress as it will now be required to show an even-handed approach on the riot cases against the Gujarat government and the cases involving its Delhi leaders.
The B.J.P., which has been at the receiving end of a bitter attack from the Congress, has been maintaining that the Congress was not doing enough to book the guility in the anti-Sikh riot cases. The release of the Commission's report will coincide with the winter session of Parliament.
The Opposition is sure to use it for embarrassing the government. It will also provide ammunition to the Akali-led alliance in the coming polls in Punjab.