1984 riots: Dhingra committee indicts cops, prosecution

1984 riots: Dhingra committee severely indicts Delhi police, prosecution, trial judges

“The basic reason for these crimes remaining unpunished and culprits getting scot-free was lack of interest shown by the police and by the authorities handling as per law or to proceed with the intention of punishing the culprits,” the committee said in its findings.

The Justice S N Dhingra committee has severely indicted the Delhi police, the prosecution and the trial judges for failing to bring justice to the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, saying “the whole efforts of the police and the administration were to hush up the criminal cases concerning the riots”.

It noted, “despite a large number of victims approaching various agencies soon after the riots and a few years thereafter, many crimes of murder, rioting and looting and arson remained unpunished and untraced”.

The committee, which examined the closure of 199 cases for further action, however, said in none of the cases, further investigation was possible since in some cases, accused, complainants and witnesses have died.

After a lapse of 34 years, there is a remote possibility people having any additional materials as victims had already approached the agencies after the riots, it said.

However, it said the state should explore the possibility of filing in appeals in more than 10 cases, including several of those decided by then Additional Sessions Judge S S Bal. It also recommended for action against ACP Survir Singh Tyagi then SHO P S Kalyanpuri for “deliberately disarming local Sikhs of their licensed arms so that the rioters could make them victims and cause loss of life and properties”.

“The basic reason for these crimes remaining unpunished and culprits getting scot-free was lack of interest shown by the police and by the authorities handling as per law or to proceed with the intention of punishing the culprits,” the committee said in its findings.

Surprisingly, it noted in one case, the Deputy Commissioner of Police sent 337 complaints received by him soon after the incidents of burning, looting, injuries and murders to police station Sultanpuri where an “omnibus” FIR was recorded in respect of 498 incidents and a single Investigating Officer was appointed to probe this case.

“In some riot-cum-murder cases, the witnesses named the accused and the police filed the challans in the court and clubbed hundreds of murders that had taken place in different houses and locations in one colony and sent all accused together for the trial. Even the judges and the magistrates did not give direction to the police to file separate challans,” it said.

In one case in respect of murder of 56 persons, the trial court framed charges only with regard to murder of five persons, it said, adding, “none of the judgements on record show that the judges were alive to the situation of 1984 riots and were alive to the fact that the delay in lodging FIRs and statements of witnesses, the victims were not responsible" and "the judges handed over acquittals in routine manner.”

The committee, in its report, noted hundreds of affidavits were filed before various committees in 1985 and FIRs were registered in 1991 and 1992. However, despite this, the trial judges rejected testimonies of the witnesses on the ground of delay in registration of FIRs and recording statement of witnesses and similar other grounds.

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