AFTER AN exhaustive struggle of 25 years, the cases against Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases were finally registered in August 2005. One was registered against Tytler and three against Sajjan Kumar, on the basis of the recommendations of the Nanavati Commission that probed the riots. Witness Surinder Singh, the head granthi of Gurdwara Pulbangash, had told the CBI that he saw Tytler leading a mob that burnt three Sikhs alive in his Gurdwara. Another witness Jasbir Singh said he saw Tytler on November 3, 1984, egging his supporters to kill many more Sikhs.
On November 6, 1984, it was reported that Tytler went to the police headquarters and told the commissioner that the police were hampering relief work by detaining his men. The police had caught his supporters red-handed. Tytler later admitted before the press that those arrested were his men. What more evidence can you ask for? His name appeared again in a Who Are The Guilty report filed by human rights organisations PUCL and PUDR in November 1984. The Narula Committee, appointed by the Madan Lal Khurana government, recommended in 1993 that a case be registered against Tytler. No action was taken.
In the first case against Sajjan Kumar, five witnesses told the CBI that they saw him leading a mob. For the last three months, the CBI has said that the investigation is complete and it has enough evidence to file the chargesheet, but the Government doesn’t let it do so. Isn’t this manipulation?
In the second case against him, six witnesses have identified Sajjan Kumar leading a mob. The investigation in that case is also complete but, again, the CBI is sitting on the chargesheet. Investigations in the third case have been shelved for reasons unknown.
It is the duty of Home Minister P Chidambaram to ensure that the guilty are punished. He cannot absolve his responsibility merely by saying that the CBI is not under him. He is answerable. If the CBI is under the Prime Minister, then let the PM come and answer the people. But the PM is away, the Home Minister doesn’t know anything. Where will the public go? It will lead to incidents like that of Jarnail Singh, the journalist who hurled his shoe at Chidambaram. I have seen Jarnail in press conferences and know of him as a very sober person. If an easygoing person like him is forced to react in the manner that he did, it only shows how much anguish there is in the hearts of the victims.
If you forget 1984, and Gujarat, then be prepared that the politicians will kill hundreds to get votes
The testimony of the witnesses is not being considered because the Congress wants to protect its leaders. It appears that both Tytler and Kumar have told Congress President Sonia Gandhi that if you don’t give us tickets, we will tell the world the instructions to kill Sikhs came from Rajiv Gandhi.
The victims are called and examined repeatedly by the investigating agency. But they don’t even ask a single question from the accused. The accused is given a VIP treatment.
We want to mobilise public opinion and put pressure on the Congress-led UPA government and ask why they are not filing a chargesheet against Sajjan Kumar.
When the people ask me why I am talking about the things that happened 25 years back, I tell them that if the guilty of 1984 had been punished, the 2002 genocide in Gujarat would not have occurred. If you forget 1984, and Gujarat, then be prepared that this will happen again. One of the basic principles of criminal jurisprudence is punishment so that it acts as deterrent for future. But when these politicians see that they are above the law, they will continue to kill hundreds of people for the purpose of getting the votes and coming to power.
Phoolka is the counsel of 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims