Anti-Sikh riots case: 3 sentenced to life imprisonment

Anti-Sikh riots case: 3 sentenced to life imprisonment

A Delhi court today awarded life imprisonment to three of the five convicts in a 29-year-old case relating to 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

District and Sessions Judge J R Aryan pronounced the punishment to Balwan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal who were held guilty of murdering five Sikhs during the riots that had broken out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

Two other convicts -- an ex-councillor Mahender Yadav and ex-MLA Kishan Khokkar, who were held guilty of rioting, were awarded three-year imprisonment. Both Yadav and Khokkar were, however, granted bail by the court.

The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 each on all the five convicts. The case, in which the five persons were held guilty pertains to killing of five Sikhs - Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh - by the mob in Raj Nagar area in Delhi Cantonment. The victims were members of the same family.

Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was also an accused in the case but acquitted by the court on April 30 as it held that Kumar deserved "benefit of doubt" since 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.

Earlier, during the arguments on quantum of sentence, CBI has sought death sentence for Balwan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal saying they were engaged in "planned communal riot" and "religious cleansing".

"It was a planned communal riot in which the victims were isolated. It was religious cleansing...The victims were totally innocent and they had not instigated anyone," CBI prosecutor R S Cheema had submitted.

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