Kumar, who was directed by the High Court on Monday to surrender by December 31 for the murder of Sikhs in Raj Nagar area, sought time till January 30. He said that he has to “settle family affairs” with regards to property.
The judges passing sentence on Kumar sagely declared that the Sikh killings in Delhi and elsewhere in November 1984 were “crimes against humanity”, a massacre that will continue to shock the collective conscience of society for a long time to come.
Sources in the Delhi Congress said Sajjan Kumar’s conviction will not affect the working of the party, but admitted that it does hurt its image. “He is already sidelined... he is not the Sajjan of the past,” a senior Delhi Congress leader said.
Demanding a stronger legal system, the court said, “Neither ‘crimes against humanity’ nor ‘genocide’ is part of our domestic law of crime. This loophole Gujarat 2002 to Muzaffarnagar 2013: ‘Political patronage to mass killings’ needs to be addressed urgently.”
“A Delhi police inspector gave them a matchbox and I remember his words to the mob: ‘doob maro, tumse ek Sardar bhi nahi jalta’ (You are all useless, you can’t even set a Sikh on fire),” recalls victim Nirpreet Kaur.
Describing the 1984 riots as “crimes against humanity” perpetrated by those who had “political patronage and were aided by an indifferent law enforcement agency”, the bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel made clear that imprisonment for life means “the remainder of his natural life”.
In his affidavit, Kamal Nath stated that on the afternoon of November 1, 1984 he received information about "some violence" around the gurudwara, and as a "senior and responsible leader" of the Congress he decided to go there.
The court noted Nirpreet Kaur’s testimony about how her father Nirmal Singh was killed, and the attack on the Raj Nagar gurdwara. Two shops away from the gurdwara is Nirmal’s home, now owned by another family which runs an electronics shop.
Senior advocate H S Phoolka has just started practising in the Delhi High Court when Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31, 1984. Here is the story of how he and his pregnant wife survived the three-day carnage.