Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered to reopen five cases relating to 1984 anti-Sikh riots that were closed in 1986. The court found that no eyewitnesses were examined before this and therefore ordered re-trial in five 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases in which all the accused were acquitted in 1986. The riots had broken out on November 1, 1984 after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and it was among India’s bloodiest in modern times. According to some estimates, more than 3,000 people with 2,433 lives in Delhi alone, mostly Sikhs were massacred in Delhi in 1984, days after Indira Gandhi had been murdered by her Sikh bodyguards.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) during hearing of another 1984 riot case placed the trial court records before the High Court in which the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar has been challenged by the agency.
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A bench of Justices Gita Mittal and Anu Malhotra while going through the records observed that the matter was decided in rush and neither the witnesses nor the complainants were examined properly by the trial courts. The bench also issued show-cause notices to all the accused asking why the case against them be not re-tried. It was also observed that summons were not issued in some cases complaintants, while the summons that were issued, were sent to the addresses where houses were burnt during riots and therefore, could not be served. The High Court directed Delhi Police to investigate the matter and fixed the matter for April 20, asking the complainants to appear before the court.
Earlier, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to deposit more than 190 files in connection with these cases and said that it will re-examine 199 cases recently closed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Narendra Modi government two years ago. The apex court directed petitioner Gurlad Singh Kahlon to file his suggestions in connection with the riot cases.
(With inputs from PTI)