A day after one convict was sentenced to death for his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Wednesday other related cases are being vigorously pursued though convictions will only be a small consolation for the families of victims.
A day after one convict was sentenced to death for his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Wednesday other related cases are being vigorously pursued though convictions will only be a small consolation for the families of victims. The 1984 anti-Sikh riots followed assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi leaving nearly 3,000 people dead. Terming the ‘Operation Blue Star’ as a “historic blunder”, the minister said the period from 1984 to 1998 was one of cover-up where all cases were buried – as though, the 1984 genocide had not happened.
The first NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee appointed Justice G T Nanavati Commission of Enquiry and recommended action against the accused, Jaitley said in a blog. It was again Narendra Modi Government which in 2015 appointed a Special Investigative Team (SIT) headed by Justice G P Mathur, a retired Judge of the Supreme Court.
The SIT detected a large number of cases where the accused were prima facie guilty but even charge sheets have not been filed. “The case in which Delhi Court yesterday has convicted two people, sentencing one of them to death was prosecuted after decades by this SIT.
“Subsequently, this SIT got subsumed in another SIT headed by Justice S.N. Dhingra, a retired High Court Judge. The subsequent SIT was appointed by the Supreme Court,” the minister said. Jaitley said yesterday justice has been done in one case and there are thousands of such cases which required a similar punishment in 1980s itself.
“Success has been achieved in one case. The Indian society and particularly the Sikh community wants a closure of the horrible memories of 1984. “We owe to the victims that the other cases suggested by the SIT for investigation and prosecution be vigorously pursued. The same is being done. Such convictions in those residual cases will be a small consolation,” Jaitley said.
The SIT is investigating nearly 60 cases related to the riots, while it has filed “untraced report” in 52 cases. In the post titled ‘The Legacy of 1984’, Jaitley said the direct fallout of the disastrous operation in June, 1984 at the Golden Temple was the assassination of the Prime Minister. “This was one of the most unfortunate and condemnable acts in Indian history. It also indicated a failure of governance.
The fallout of this was not anticipated. It proved to be catastrophic,” he said. Jaitley said the “Congressmen led groups of mourners and protesters shouting ‘Khoon Ka Badla Khoon’ and “this provocative slogan was shown in television on Doordarshan continuously in round-the-clock telecast”. He said anti-Sikh violence started in several parts of the country. Delhi was the worst affected. “Congressmen led violent mobs,” he said, adding the police colluded with them, did not fire, lathi charge or even teargas the mobs. “The rioters were given a free hand to kill and loot. Places of worship of the Sikh community were damaged.
Sikh houses were burnt. Their trade establishments were looted. Thousands of innocents, men, women and children were burnt, were mutilated. The police did not even register the First Information Reports,” the minister recalled. The senior BJP leader further said the ‘Operation Bluestar’ proved to be a historic blunder. “It was poorly planned and terribly executed. There were no intelligence inputs with regard to the number of militants and their ammunition that they had collected within,” Jaitley said and added many innocents got killed in the process. “Bluestar succeeded in hurting the psyche of India’s most patriotic community. A myopic Government did not consider the political cost of this move,” he added.