Communal frenzy unleashed after death of Indira: HC

Communal frenzy unleashed after death of Indira: HC

Former prime minister Indira Gandhi. DH file photo

The Delhi High Court on Monday said that the communal frenzy was unleashed after assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, killing thousands of community members, burning down of their houses and 'Gurudwara' in Delhi and other places in the country.

“There was an abject failure by the police to investigate the violence,” a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel said.

“It is extraordinary that despite there being as many as 341 deaths in the Delhi Cantonment area alone over the span of four days beginning 1st November 1984, only 21 FIRs were registered and, of these, only 15 pertained to deaths/murders. Ultimately, only five bodies were recovered and that too was because of the intervention of the army,” the bench added.

The high court, which overturned the trial court's order acquitting Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, noted that the aftershocks of the atrocities are still being felt.

“That many cases remained to be properly investigated was acknowledged recently by the Supreme Court in its order on January 11, 2018 in S Gurlad Singh Kahlon's case by which it was considered appropriate to constitute a three-member Special Investigating Team (SIT) to proceed to investigate as many as 186 cases in which further investigation had not taken place.

The case against 73-year-old Sajjan Kumar and others were reopened on a recommendation by the Justice G T Nanavati Commission.

"No sooner did the CBI take over the probe than the witnesses came forward to record their statement against him." 


“There was a two-pronged strategy adopted by the attackers. First was to liquidate all Sikh males and the other was to destroy their residential houses leaving the women and children utterly destitute. The attack on the Raj Nagar Gurudwara was clearly a part of the communal agenda of the perpetrators,” the high court said.

It further noted that a majority of the perpetrators of these horrific mass crimes escaped prosecution and punishment for over two decades. It took as many as ten Committees and Commissions for the investigation into the role of some of them to be entrusted in 2005 to the CBI, 21 years after the occurrence.