1984 anti-Sikh riots: three jailed for life
Three men involved in the anti-Sikh riots that followed the assassination of Indian prime minister Indira Ghandi in 1984 have been jailed for life for attempted murder, loot and arson.
Brij Mohan Verma, Mangal Sain and Ghagat Singh were guilty of acts of “mindless violence committed under the garb of emotional outburst,” said Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Surinder S. Nathi in New Delhi.
The three men forced their way into neighbour Joginder Singh’s home in North Delhi on November 1 1984, beat up the family and looted the house before setting it alight.
Mr Singh and his two sons moved to Amritsar soon after, but returned for the trial as investigations finally brought their attackers to book 25 years later.
Judge Nathi described the anti-Sikh riots as a most unfortunate time for India after independence and dismissed the suggestion that they were an emotional outburst of the masses. There could be no justification for mayhem and pogrom, he said.
The court criticised “contrived inaction” by the police and government, which, it said, led to loss of “priceless lives”. Instead of showing their allegiance to the rule of law, the constitution and the oath they had taken, a better part of the police response was toeing the line of their political rulers, it said.
Thousands of Sikhs died in the riots, with the Sikh community condemning ruling party politicians ever since for not hunting down and punishing those responsible.
Indira Ghandi had been murdered by her Sikh bodyguards.
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