1984 anti-Sikh riots: Delhi court convicts 2 persons

New Delhi: A Delhi court Wednesday convicted two persons for killing two men here during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots – the first conviction in the cases reopened by the SIT. Delhi police had closed the case in 1994 for want of evidence.

However, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) on the riots reopened it. Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Pandey held Naresh Sherawat and Yashpal Singh guilty of killing Hardev Singh and Avtar Singh in Mahipalpur area of south Delhi during the riots.

“It is clearly established that deceased Hardev Singh and Avtar Singh were murdered by the intentional acts of the unlawful assembly, to which accused were active participants,” the court held. The common object of the unlawful assembly amongst others was to murder the people of Sikh community, which is clear from the slogans raised by its leaders and the manner in which the members carried out its object, the court said.

It said both the accused were part of the unlawful assembly and participated in the “common object of said assembly of about 1,000 persons on November 1, 1984, armed with iron rods, sticks, hockey sticks, stones and kerosene oil and broke the door and window of a room and took out the victims and injured them with dangerous weapons.”

The mob, with the intention to kill victims, further threw both of them from first floor to ground, which caused the death of both the victims, the court said. The court noted that the mob further looted the goods from the house of other persons of the Sikh community and set some of the houses and shops on fire.

At that time, one of the accused, who was carrying a can of Kerosene oil, poured it over the door of the houses and Yashpal lit matchstick to ignite the fire. The case was lodged on a complaint filed by Santokh Singh, brother of Hardev Singh.

The court held both the accused guilty under various sections, including 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 395 (dacoity) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the Indian Penal Code. Both the convicts were taken into custody after the judgment.

The court is scheduled to hear arguments on the quantum of sentence Thursday where the convicts may get a maximum punishment of death sentence and minimum punishment of life imprisonment.