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Sajjan Kumar enjoyed ‘political patronage’, ‘large scale efforts’ to protect him’: Delhi High Court

History appears to have finally caught up with Sajjan Kumar as he has been instructed to surrender by the 31st of December. His conviction has been welcomed by the families of victims and the Sikh community.

Sajjan Kumar, a veteran Congress leader, has been convicted in the 1984 Sikh massacre case and has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Witness in the case, Cham Kaur, has asserted that she personally saw Sajjan Kumar order the brutal murder of 5 Sikhs.

Besides Cham Kaur, another key prosecution actress, Sheela Kaur, identified Sajjan Kumar as the person who was instigating crowds at Sultanpuri.

In its damning observations, the Delhi High Court said that there were ‘large-scale efforts’ to protect Kumar.

The Court further observed that cases were often not even registered and even on occasions when they were registered, they were not investigated properly.

Most damning observation, however, was that the accused enjoyed ‘political patronage’ and ‘escaped trial’.

Today’s judgment reversed the 2013 verdict of the Karkardooma trial court that acquitted Kumar but convicted five others in the case.

The case pertains to the murder of five Sikhs in the Delhi Cantonment area during the massacre of 1984. The appeal was filed by those convicted, the CBI and the family of victims.

The Delhi High Court had admitted the appeal against the trial court verdict in August 2013. The trial court had acquitted him after observing that Kumar deserved the “benefit of doubt” as a key witness had not named him as an accused in her statement to a panel.

In April 2012, the CBI told a Delhi Court that Sajjan Kumar incited crowds to murder Sikhs. The Court was also told that the massacre was “backed by both the Congress government and police”. “There was a conspiracy of terrifying proportion with the complicity of police and patronage of local MP Sajjan Kumar,” the CBI prosecutor told the Judge. The prosecutor also said that witnesses had heard Sajjan Kumar tell a crowd “not a single Sikh should survive”.

In a bitter instance of irony, 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, is set to take oath as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.

Kamal Nath was accused of leading a mob outside the Rakabganj Gurudwara during the massacre. Two Sikhs were burnt to death there. His presence at the Gurudwara was confirmed by a policeman and a journalist who offered formal testimony. Kamal Nath said that he was there on Rajiv Gandhi’s insistence. However, the Nanavati Commission did not find any definitive proof of his involvement.

History appears to have finally caught up with Sajjan Kumar as he has been instructed to surrender by the 31st of December. His conviction has been welcomed by the families of victims and the Sikh community. Celebrations broke out as soon as his conviction was announced by the Delhi High Court.

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