Delhi Government on Wednesday decided on a probe by a Special Investigation Team into the 1984 anti- Sikh riots, two days after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said some of the partymen were probably involved in the violence but were punished.
The politically sensitive decision to form the SIT to investigate the riots which left around 3000 Sikhs dead following the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 may create trouble in the relationship between AAP and Congress which has been providing outside support to Kejriwal dispensation.
But the move was welcomed by riot victims with one of their prominent lawyers saying it gave them a “ray of hope”. “Government is going to form a SIT to probe the 1984 riots. The modalities of the probe will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Friday. Lt Governor Najeeb Jung has in-principle agreed to the proposal to appoint the SIT,” PWD Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters.
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Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal discussed the issue with Jung. To a query on effectiveness of SIT as the riots had taken place nearly 30 years back, Sisodia said “honest efforts will definitely yield results”. Two days back, in an interview to a TV channel, Gandhi had admitted that “some Congress men were probably involved in 1984 anti-Sikh riots and they have been punished for it”.
Gandhi had insisted that the Congress government in 1984 “was not aiding and abetting the riots” but had tried to stop the violence. Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar are facing allegations of involvement in riots after Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31, 1984.
Claiming that effective investigation into the anti-Sikh riots was part of AAP’s agenda, Sisodia said the party had held a day-long fast atJantar Mantar to express solidarity with the victims. Senior lawyer HS Phoolka, who joined AAP recently, said, “The decision of government to form SIT has given a ray of hope to riot victims that justice would be done to them.” Phoolka has been taking up the causes of victims of anti-Sikh riots.
Phoolka said SIT should be formed on the lines of the special team which probed Gujarat cases. “Police officers from other states should head the SIT while Delhi police should only assist them,” said Phulka. Delhi Police and CBI have investigated the riots cases so far.