The Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the mass killings during the anti-Sikh riots in 1984, arrested four men accused of setting a building to fire in which three persons were burnt to death, a senior official said on Thursday.
The arrests were made on Wednesday by the SIT, headed by Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Balendu Bhushan Singh, from the Ghatampur area of Kanpur.
The SIT, constituted by the Uttar Pradesh government on May 27, 2019, on the orders of the Supreme Court, has been probing the anti-Sikh riots’ cases for the last three years and efforts are on to nab more suspects, said DIG Singh.
It had identified 96 persons as prime suspects, of which 22 have died. Complete information about 11 suspects was gathered, which helped the SIT to nab four of them, he said.
The four arrested accused were identified as Saifullah, Yogendra Singh, Vijay Narayan Singh and Abdul Rahman, all sexagenarian residents of the Ghatampur area.
He said they have been charged under Indian Penal Code sections 396 (dacoity with murder) and 336 (act endangering life or safety of others), adding they have been sent to jail.
Elaborating further, the DIG said the four arrested accused had accompanied dozens of others in a couple of buses to reach Nirala Nagar for setting the house of one Gurudyal Singh on fire in 1984.
There were 12 families residing at Gurudyal’s house as tenants and during the attack, three persons were burnt alive. He added that a rioter, identified as Rajesh Gupta, was also shot dead during cross-firing.
“We have been investigating 11 cases after identifying 96 prime suspects exploring facts from witnesses settled in Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan. SIT also found that 22 (persons) have already died,” Bhushan Singh said.
The SIT was formed to re-investigate the cases of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that had led to 127 casualties in Kanpur, one of the worst-hit cities.
Crucial evidence, including blood samples, had been taken about a year ago from a locked house in the city’s Govind Nagar area, which was attacked by a mob during the riots that followed the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.
The DIG said the SIT had entered the house with a forensic team. The witnesses had narrated the horrific episode and disclosed the identities of those allegedly involved in the killing, he said.