1984 anti-Sikh riots: Argument on quantum of sentence on May 9

Court convicted five persons but gave Sajjan benefit of doubt

A Delhi court on Saturday fixed May 9 for hearing arguments on quantum of punishment in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was acquitted while five persons were convicted for being a part of the mob that killed five Sikhs.

District judge J R Aryan, who was scheduled to hear the arguments on point of sentence on May 6, deferred the matter for May 9 after Central Bureau of Investigation prosecutor R S Cheema, expressed his inability to appear before it on that date.

Sajjan Kumar was given benefit of doubt by the court which said one of the victims and key witness Jagdish Kaur did not name him as an accused in her statement recorded by the Justice Ranganath Mishra panel in 1985.

While freeing Kumar, the other five accused — Balwan Khokkar, an ex-councillor, Mahender
Yadav, an ex-MLA, Kishan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal — have been held guilty on April 30 for the offences,including murder, rioting and unlawful assembly by the armed rioters.

The judge in his judgement has said it has been proved that the convicts are guilty of rioting, armed with deadly weapons and unlawful assembly on November 1, 1984 at around 7.30 pm near gurdwara Raj Nagar.

The court has said that it has been proved that there was a rioting mob, including the convicts and they were armed with weapons such as lathis and rods and they did indulge in violence.

The court had added that Jagdish Kaur’s testimony was “believable and acceptable” that on November 2, 1984, Girdhari and Bhagmal were part of the rioting mob when the mob had assaulted and killed victim Narender Pal Singh.

The court, however, had said that the testimony of Kaur that she had seen Kumar instigating a mob with his provocative speech was not acceptable and believable.

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