1984 riot witnesses move court, seek security to depose fearlessly

The witnesses in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case involving senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar on Tuesday approached a Delhi court seeking direction to the government to provide them security and means of livelihood so that they can give uninfluenced and unbiased testimony.

The witnesses, who are also the victims, have filed the application in the riots case in which the Delhi High Court had recently refused to quash murder and rioting charges against Kumar and others relating to the killing of six persons in Sultanpuri area here.

District judge J R Aryan, who orally asked the CBI to provide security to the witnesses, would pass written orders on the application on Wednesday.

The court has fixed August 13 for deciding the date to begin recording of testimonies of prosecution witnesses.

Complainant Sheela Kaur, in her plea filed through senior advocate H S Phoolka, said as the court is about to begin recording of statements of witnesses, there will be threat to their lives and asked the government to spend at least the same amount on witnesses, as is being spent by it on the accused.

“It is in the interest of justice that the government should be directed to provide sufficient security and alternative livelihood to the witnesses and spend at least the same amount on victims who are witnesses equal to the amount beings spent by government on the accused persons,” the plea said.

It claimed that Kumar is being given “VVIP treatment and is provided about 40-50 security personnel, government vehicles and accommodation in huge bungalows”.
The witnesses sought security so that they can give their statements without any insecurity, threat and fear and their testimony remains uninfluenced, unbiased and factual.

The plea said the Supreme Court as well as Law Commission of India have more than once mentioned about the Witness Protection Programme and have emphasised its importance.

In July 2010, the trial court had framed charges against Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta, Peru, Khushal Singh and Ved Prakash in connection with the case of killing of six persons in the riots that had occurred after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

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