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Delhi 1985 transistor blasts: 30 acquitted, but long case took heavy toll

Singh was one of the 59 men and women accused in the transistor bomb blasts of May 10, 1985, that happened in Delhi and adjoining areas of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The explosions killed 49 and injured 127 people in the capital alone.

Written by Shivam Patel , Sukrita Baruah , Ashna Butani | New Delhi | March 10, 2020 1:52:18 am
Delhi 1985 blasts, Delhi 1985 bomb blasts, 198 blasts Delhi, 1985 bomb blasts Delhi, India news, Indian Express 49 people were killed in Delhi. (Express Archive)

DIn 1985, a young Dalvinder Singh was expecting the result of his Class XII examinations to come out soon, hopeful that a promising future lay ahead of him. The result was brought to him while he was in police custody.

Singh was one of the 59 men and women accused in the transistor bomb blasts of May 10, 1985, that happened in Delhi and adjoining areas of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The explosions killed 49 and injured 127 people in the capital alone.

A Delhi court on March 5 acquitted 30 of the 59 accused, including Singh, saying that the “investigation conducted in these cases was defective, lopsided, unfair and suffered from various lacunae”.

Nearly 35 years after his life was turned upside down, Singh is now hopeful of making a fresh start: “Saari zindagi khatam ho gayi iss mein (all my life has ended in this case)… I was 17 years and 8 months old at the time. The officer who brought my result had said, ‘Pass ho gaya, Dalvinder. Mithai lao’.”

After he was released on bail in 1986, Singh took admission in Deshbandhu College, but had to drop out after the second year as his family began fearing for his safety. He ran a few businesses with his brothers — an electric car parts factory and a pen factory — but they too had to be closed, either due to family issues or because he couldn’t pay attention.

“After the charges were framed in 2006, I was required to be in court every day from morning to evening… I got married late, hoping to clear the case first and establish myself a little. My mother died in 1993 and my father in 2011. Both of them would have been happy today,” he said.

Many others who were acquitted by the court said the support from their families and community kept them going. When Manmohan Singh was arrested, his wife was pregnant with their first child. He went on to spend six months in jail, during which time his first son Amanpreet was born.

“When news of the blasts arrived, I was working at my textile printing factory in Uttam Nagar. I wasn’t even aware of it. A Hindu neighbour came to me and said, ‘Brother, haven’t you heard what has happened? Go home to your family at once.’ When the police came to arrest me, I was sleeping in my house with my family. I was going about my normal life as usual,” he said.

Now 65 years old, Singh lives in a well-to-do locality in Vikaspuri with his family. “No one believed the allegations against me, and I received full support from everyone. Luckily, I lived in a joint family and my pregnant wife was looked after by my parents and brothers during a very worrying time. I did not receive any hatred from any Hindu,” he said.

Tej Partap, the son of accused Tarjeet Singh, said, “Many Sikh youngsters were falsely implicated in the case. My uncle, Sarvjeet Singh, and father were among them. They were in their early 20s then. They spent almost a year in jail.”

Narinder Singh (65), another accused who was acquitted by the court recently, said he was 30 when he was arrested by police around the end of May 1985. His first child was born around 15 days after his arrest. “I have not been able to find a steady employment since,” he said.

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