1984 Anti-Sikh Riots Come Back To Haunt The Congress: Senior Party Leader Sajjan Kumar Gets Life Sentence

1984 Anti-Sikh Riots Come Back To Haunt The Congress: Senior Party Leader Sajjan Kumar Gets Life SentenceSenior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar (Hemant Chawla/The India Today Group/Getty Images)

Senior Congres leader Sajjan Kumar has been sentenced to life in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case by the Delhi High Court which overturned an acquittal verdict by a lower court. "It is important to assure the victims that despite the challenges truth will prevail," the High Court said.

The court said "criminals have enjoyed political patronage", and appreciated the courage shown by the witness Jagdish Kaur for pursuing the case fearlessly.

Kumar is required to surrender before 31 December, the court said.

Sajjan Kumar and five others were facing trial in the case involving the killing of five Sikhs - Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh, all members of the same family - who were allegedly massacred by a mob led by Sajjan Kumar in Delhi Cantonment's Raj Nagar area.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel delivered the verdict in the case related to the killing of five people in the Delhi Cantonment area following the assassination of Indira Gandhi on 31 October 1984.

The CBI had filed an appeal challenging the acquittal of Kumar and said that the trial court "erred in acquitting Sajjan Kumar as it was he who had instigated the mob during the riots.

In 2013, the trial court had convicted five former Congress councillors Balwan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Kishan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal - for their involvement in the case.

Despite allegations of his involvement in engineering Sikh riots, Sajjan’s political fortunes flourished in the Congress party and he was elected three times from the Outer Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.

After suffering two defeats against BJP candidates, Sajjan Kumar bounced back in 2004 winning a resounding victory polling more than 8.50 lakh votes and wrested the seat from former CM and late Delhi BJP stalwart Sahib Singh Verma.

Congress party renominated Sajjan Kumar in 2009 Lok Sabha polls, but a Sikh journalist Jarnail Singh protested against it by hurling a shoe at the then Home Minister P Chidambaram at the party’s media briefing. Sensing the mood, Congress party changed its candidate.

In 2013 assembly elections in Delhi, the Congress brazened out against all criticism and fielded Sajjan Kumar’s son Jagparvesh Kumar from the South Delhi constituency of Sangam Vihar.

Sajjan Kumar is currently facing trial in the second case involving the killing of six people in Sultanpuri.