Court orders CBI to re-open 1984 Sikh carnage
THE Congress party is going through one of its worst nightmares as the ghosts of the Sikh communal carnage seems to be harnessing the party to the hilt . The Additional sessions judge Anuradha Shukla Bharadwaj setting aside the clean chit given by a magistrate court on an appeal filed by Bibi Lakhwinder Kaur ,called upon the premier investigating agency to reopen the case related to senior Congress leader Jagdish Tytler . It may be noted that the CBI had submitted two reports before the courts giving clean chit to Jagdish Tytler stating that there were no proper witnesses.
The CBI ,according to the petitioner has not conducted a trial of the witnesses who were willing to give their testimony . The CBI has rejected this stating that the witness were changing their statements. However the CBI has indeed taken a testimony from the driver of Jagdish Tytler that he(Tytler) was present at Teen Murti Bhavan on November 1st ,1984.
CBI had given a clean chit to Tytler on April 2, 2009 claiming lack of evidence against him in the case pertaining to the murder of three Sikhs Badal Singh ,Thakur Singh and Gurucharan Singh near Gurudwara Pulbangash on November 1, 1984 in the aftermath of the assassination of Smt Indira Gandhi , then Prime Minister.
The court had allowed CBI’s closure report saying Tytler was present at Teen Murti Bhawan, the residence of Smt .Indira Gandhi on November 1, 1984 and was not at the spot of crime and the contentions of CBI. were justified by material, including some visual tapes and versions of some independent witnesses.
One of the witness, Jasbir (now residing in California), in an affidavit, had claimed before the Justice Nanavati Commission that he had heard Tytler on November 3, 1984, rebuking his men for the “nominal killings” carried out on the Sikhs and he was seen shouting at the mob for inflicting more damage . The court had rejected Jasbir’s version, saying he had deposed for something which took place on November 3 while the case related to an incident of November 1, 1984.
Another main witness Surender Singh who was the head Granthi of Gurudwara Pul Bangash in his sworn affidavit has stated “On 1st November 1984 in the morning at 9am a big mob which was carrying sticks, iron rods and kerosene oil attacked the Gurdwara. The crowd was being led by our area Member Parliament of Congress (I) Jagdish Tytler He incited the crowd to set the Gurdwara on fire and to kill the Sikhs. In the crowd some people were having in their hands the flags of Congress party and they were raising slogans such as,The revenge of blood will be taken by blood, the Sikhs are traitors, kill them, burn them’. Five to six policemen were also with the crowd. On incitement by Jagdish Tytler, they attacked the gurdwara an set it on fire. Thakur Singh, who was a retired inspector of Delhi Police and an emplyee of the gurdwara Managing Committee, was killed by the crowd. Badal Singh, who was the Sewadar of the gurdwara, was burnt alive by putting a burning tyre around his neck. This whole incident was helplessly witnessed by me from the upper floor of the gurdwara.
What more does the Congressmen want than this chilling reminder of the 1984 Sikh riots and how the CBI did look the other way round . However the same Sardar Surender Singh later retracted from the statement and Tytler called upon the attention of the commission on another affidavit given by Surender Singh ,this one on August 5,2002. In this he had said that he does not know how to read and write in English and that he was made to sign in dotted lines earlier However in his statement to Nanavati commission Surender Singh has said that Tytler had tried to contact him on November 10th , 1984 and that he had refused to go. Subsequently it seems that he has yielded on which Justice Nanavati has observed “What appears from all this is that the subsequent affidavit was probably obtained by persuasion or under pressure. If this witness had really not seen Jagdish Tytler in the mob, or if he was not approached by Tytler, then he would not have come before the Commission to give evidence or would have told the Commission that the attack did not take place in that manner. For speaking the truth, it was not necessary for him to wait till 5-8-2002 and file an additional affidavit.”
Senior advocate H.S. Phoolka appearing for the petitioner Bibi Lakhwinder Kaur has argued extensively against the CBI taking the testimonies of the driver of Jagdish Tytler while ignoring the statements of eye witnsses in the case .
It may be recalled that in the horrendous Sikh riots of 1984 in the aftermath of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ,Sikhs were set ablaze and killed in hordes . While the official deaths of the Sikh riots was set at 2700 , sources from various Sikh organizations has indicated that the number may be between 4000 and 5000 .
After Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31, 1984 by her Sikh body guards , arson ,looting and anti Sikh riots started from November 1, 1984. The first killing of a Sikh took place in East Patel nagar and then the killing spree started . The low income Sikh colonies in Trilokpuri ,Sahadra, Geeta Colony ,Sultanpuri ,Mangalpuri and Palam Colony where the main areas which were affected.
Gursharan Singh Sandhu, a trader in Karol Bhagh and originally from Trilokpuri, while speaking to Organiser said “We were huddled in a room, we were thirty five members including our parents and all the brothers and sisters and our children . We were protected by the local Hindus of the locality .There were threatening calls to the local Hindu’s who were protecting us to get us out of the house for lynching .Fortunately for us they did save us , however several of our other relatives and friends were not so lucky and several were killed by putting a tyre over the neck which was dipped in petrol and set ablaze.
Rajinder Singh Kochar ,a business man in Rajouri Garden while speaking to Organiser said , “We were afraid to venture out even after the army took over , however sources told us that the army men were not allowed to use firearms and had to get clearance which shows that the armed force’s arms were tied”. He further adds “This resulted in a fear psychosis among the community leading to a scar in the younger generation .It was practically a genocide on the Sikh community for no fault of ours .It was never a mass uprising as such , but properly instigated ,meticulously planned ethnic genocide conducted under the leadership of Jagdish Tytler , Sajjan Kumar and Late H.K. L Bhagat.”
There are eye witnesses who claimed that Jagdish Tytler ,Sajjan Kumar and late H.K. L Bhagat had instigated the mobs and had used the services of local Congress corporators to identify the Sikh residences in the cosmopolitan localities .Sikhs were identified ad then the whole house was burnt.
The Congress party which is now claiming the status of non violence and the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi has to answer on the anti Sikh riots of 1984 and how the party leadership was directly involved . There were even eye witnesses who had claimed of hearing Jagdish Tytler showering abuses on Congressmen who were soft on Sikh victims and was demanding a violent death to the Sikhs.