The Special Investigation Team (SIT), set up by the Adityanath government to further investigate the cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur, has claimed to have got “evidence” in 19 such cases in which the local police had filed closure reports.
The SIT has also sought permission from the state government to file an appeal against the lower court’s judgment in five of the 11 cases in which the Kanpur police had filed chargesheets.
The anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur had erupted in the wake of the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. At least 127 people were killed in the riots in Kanpur. The BJP government had last year ordered the formation of the SIT to examine 1,251 cases that were filed in Kanpur following the riots. Last month, the state government gave another six-month extension – till May 2021 — to the SIT.
According to the SIT officials, they have traced around 40 “prime witnesses” of the 19 cases. “The 40 witnesses include the original complainant of the cases and eye-witnesses. We have so far got statement of eight persons, including a woman, recorded before a magistrate. In the coming days, we will get the statement of other witnesses recorded before the magistrate,” said Superintendent of Police and SIT member Balendu Bhushan.
The SIT traced some of the witnesses to Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Chennai, while most of them were found to be living in Kanpur. Till now, the SIT has shortlisted 40 cases out of the total 1,251 cases for further investigation. Among the 40 cases, Kanpur police had filed chargesheet in 11 and closure reports in the rest 29 cases.
A week ago, the SIT included one more case into its list of further probe after the complainant agreed to help the investigators. The case involves the murder of two persons at Kidwainagar area in Kanpur during the riots in 1984. “Of the 40 shortlisted cases, police had earlier filed closure report in 29 of them. We have decided to pursue the investigation in 19. In nine cases, we did not find evidence during our preliminary inquiry. So, we have decided not to re-investigate them. In one case, we are yet to decide whether further investigation is needed in it,” said Bhushan.
Sources said the SIT decided not to pursue the investigation in nine cases as complainant and witnesses of those cases refused to come forward. Bhushan said the SIT also reviewed the report of Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission, which was set up by the Congress government at the Centre in 1986 to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, Bokaro and Kanpur.
In its report, submitted in February 1987, the Commission concluded that the violence was an involuntary reaction stemming from a deep sense of grief, anguish and hatred for the assassins of Indira Gandhi. The Commission gave a clean chit to the Congress party, while indicting some of the party workers.
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