1984 Anti-Sikh riots: 34 years later, court awards death penalty to a convict, life term to another

Yashpal Singh and Naresh Sehrawat were convicted on November 15. The verdict was pronounced inside the premises of the Tihar jail.

Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Tuesday declared the death sentence for convict Yashpal Singh and announced life imprisonment for another convict Naresh Sehrawat for their involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

According to the reports, on November 15, both of them were convicted for killing two young Sikhs in Delhi’s Mahipalpur area after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated. The verdict was pronounced inside Delhi’s Tihar Jail due to security concerns and the previous attack on the convicts on the premises.

The court announced the quantum of sentence in the double murder case amidst huge security outside the court. The court along with severe punishments has also ordered both convicts to pay Rs.35 lakh as fine. The two convicts, Naresh Sherawat, and Yashpal Singh were held guilty by the court for killing 24-year-old Hardev Singh and 26-year-old Avtar Singh thirty-four years ago on November 1, 1984, at Mahipalpur village in south Delhi.

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“The prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that both accused persons took out the victims, who were hiding inside a room, injured them with dangerous weapons with the intention to kill and threw them down from the first floor, which caused the death of Hardev Singh and Avtar Singh,” Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Pandey said while convicting them.

The Delhi Police had closed the case in 1994 for lack of evidence. However, it was further investigated by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) instituted by the Home Ministry. Reportedly, this is the first sentencing in the case after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) took over the probe in 2015.

We had earlier reported regarding a witness named Cham Kaur identifying senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 Anti-Sikh pogrom causing huge embarrassment to the Congress. Cham Kaur had also alleged that she has offered Rs 5 lakh not to depose any statements in the court against Congress leader.

The 1984 Anti-Sikh riots took place aftermath of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which resulted in brutal killings of more than 2800 people according to official figures. Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler were directly accused of large role in orchestrating the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in India.

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