The Congress party has been caught in a major embarrassment after the Delhi High Court convicted one of its senior leaders, Sajjan Kumar for his role in the 1984-anti-Sikh riots. The Delhi High Court while delivering the judgement had issued a damning statement saying the accused had enjoyed ‘political patronage’ and ‘escaped trial’.
As the Congress party was pushed on to the back foot, senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the issue should not be politicised and the judgement should not be linked to the political atmosphere prevailing in the country. Former Human Resources Minister Kapil Sibal attempted to distance convicted Sajjan Kumar from the Congress party and maintained that he does not hold office or fought on a Congress party ticket. He also attacked BJP for politicising the case.
The Congress leaders displayed their eagerness to distance the convict Sajjan Kumar from the party to minimise the damage he has already caused and to avoid furthermore discomfort. Nevertheless, the Congress party had mainstreamed the criminal Sajjan Kumar all along despite several victims had accused him of his involvement in the anti-Sikh pogrom.
Sajjan Kumar, who has now been convicted of murdering five Sikhs in the Delhi Cantonment area during the massacre of 1984, has stayed very close to the Congress party despite Congress party projecting otherwise. In 2004, the Congress party had brought Sajjan Kumar into the mainstream by allowing him to contest and win from Outer Delhi constituency.
Later in 2014, Sajjan Kumar was made the member of party’s campaign committee for parliamentary elections in Delhi. His services were sought for bringing crowds for an election rally of the current Congress party president Rahul Gandhi during the 2014 general elections.
Congress party had also utilised the services of Sajjan Kumar to organise different rallies and election campaigns in various assembly elections. Sajjan Kumar, who was twice MP from Outer Delhi constituency had participated in an election rally ahead of the Bawana Assembly constituency by-election in 2013 and had addressed several meetings.
Recently, Sajjan Kumar was seen leading the party’s Bharat Bandh protests over high fuel prices near Pusa Road, Delhi. He had to face the wrath of the people for trying to intimidate a journalist after he confronted Sajjan Kumar for his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre.
Once again on September 30 2018, Sajjan Kumar had displayed his affiliation with the Congress party by participating in a rally to protest against “illegal sealing” of industries, unemployment and price rise to highlight the failures of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi and the BJP at the centre.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer HS Phoolka had alleged in the past that the Centre and police have protected Sajjan Kumar since 1984. He had said that there was ample evidence to show how the police and the government have been shielding him from the beginning. Reportedly, the police did not register cases in 1984 wherever the victims named political leaders.
In 2012, during the UPA government, the special public prosecutor had argued that the CBI investigation showed that the police had removed the statement of a main witness from the record and had further placed on record fabricated statements which were not made by the witness.
Meanwhile, the conviction of Sajjan Kumar for his role in the Sikh massacre has finally brought some semblance of justice to the families of victims and the Sikh community while a long road lays ahead in bringing other culprits to book. Over 400 cases related to the 1984 Sikh genocide still remains pending in Indian courts.
Interestingly, Sajjan Kumar has been convicted for his role in the 1984 Sikh Massacre on the same day that another Congress veteran accused of participating in the massacre, Kamal Nath took oath as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.