Indifferent cops and insensitive judges failed 1984 riot victims: SIT | India News


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court-constituted Justice S N Dhingra-led SIT in its report has slammed “indifferent police and insensitive trial judges” for “complete failure of justice” in the 1984 Sikh riots cases inv.”olving hundreds of murders and blamed the Justice Ranganath Misra Commission of Inquiry for causing years of delay in registration of FIRs in heinous offences.
“In the name of investigation, almost nothing was done by police; acquittals were handed down by judges, not alive to the situation of 1984 riots, in a routine manner; and Justice Misra commission received hundreds of affidavits from kin of victims of riots, but failed to direct police to register FIRs, which were delayed by years resulting in acquittal” — are some of the findings of the special investigation team (SIT).
The summary of the report, submitted in April 2019 but made public on Thursday, stated that “the basic reason for these crimes remaining unpunished and culprits getting scot free was lack of interest shown by the (Delhi) Police and the authorities in handling these cases as per the law or to proceed with the intention of punishing the culprits”.
A bench of Justices A S Bopanna and P S Narasimha posted the matter after two weeks after hearing brief arguments made by senior advocates H S Phoolka, who appeared for petitioner S Gurlad Singh Kahlon, and V Mohana, who appeared for the central government. The Centre, in an affidavit through advocate Arkaj Kumar, sought winding up of Justice Dhingra SIT as it has completed its work. The NDA government had entrusted 199 cases to the SIT in 2014. However, the SC had asked the SIT to examine those cases afresh in December 2018.
The Justice Ranganath Misra Commission, which was appointed by the Rajiv Gandhi government immediately after the riots that took place after the assassination of then PM Indira Gandhi, received flak from the SIT for being insensitive to the “wailing affidavits of witnesses who gave testimony about the macabre dance of death in Sikh-populated areas”.
It said though the Misra Commission received hundreds of affidavits naming accused persons committing murders, looting and arson, it failed to direct concerned police stations to register FIRs based on these affidavits and conduct investigation.
Narrating the modus operandi of police, the SIT comprising Justice Dhingra and IPS officer Abhishek Dular said in its report, “If one FIR was registered in respect of one incident of murder-cum-riot-cum-arson-cum-looting a house or shop in an area, all other incidents of murder, arson looting, rioting of that area were clubbed in the same FIR and in the name of investigation almost nothing was done.”
The SIT recommended action against the then Kalyanpuri SHO Survir Singh Tyagi for “deliberately disarming” local Sikhs of their licensed arms to allow rioters to attack them causing loss of lives. Tyagi was suspended from service but later reinstated and promoted as ACP. “The SIT is of the view that his case be referred to the riot cell of Delhi Police for action,” the report said.
The SIT also took a dim view of the way the judges handled the trials by “insensitively casting aside cogent statements” of witnesses. “None of the judgments on record show that the judges were alive to the situation of 1985 riots and to the fact that for delays in lodging of FIRs and recording of statements of witnesses, the victims were not responsible,” the SIT said.
Giving an example of a trial in a case from Kalyanpuri, one of the worst riots affected areas, the SIT said police filed a chargesheet after clubbing several FIRs involving 56 murders. The trial court framed charges only regarding five murders.
“Witnesses appeared before the court and gave evidence about the killings of their near and dear ones but since no charge was framed in respect of rest of the murders… the testimony of witnesses went waste and nobody was punished,” it said and recommended filing of appeal, even after the long delay, against five judgments of additional sessions judge S S Bal in the year 1995.
“The judge conducting the trial did not bother to ask the witnesses as to who out of the accused persons present in court were among the rioters and had committed riots. Acquittals were handed over by judges to the accused in a routine manner,” it said.
The SIT said the witnesses were subjected to appear before committee after committee resulting in enormous delay in registration of FIRs. It said FIRs were registered in 1991-92 on affidavits filed in 1985. “In almost all the cases, the trial judges rejected the testimonies of the witnesses on the ground of delay in filing of FIRs and recording of statements of witnesses,” it said.

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