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1984 Kanpur anti-Sikh riots: 10 months on, SIT yet to begin probe

No copies of FIRs and post-mortem reports, SIT tries to reach out to victims’ families for documents

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow | Published: November 24, 2019 8:16:37 am
1984 Kanpur anti-Sikh riots: 10 months on, SIT yet to begin probe Of the total 1,254 cases registered in Kanpur during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the SIT has selected 38 cases of heinous crimes of murder and dacoity to further investigate it. (Express Archives)

THE Special Investigation Team (SIT), which was formed by the Uttar Pradesh government in February this year to examine and probe anti-Sikh riot cases in Kanpur after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, is yet to begin probe as it is still in the process of collecting legal documents related to the cases.

Besides, the SIT is also waiting for formal permission from the state government to empower it to investigate the cases and record statements.

“We had sometime back sent a letter to the state government, requesting it to empower the SIT to investigate the cases. We are waiting for the government’s reply. So far, we are busy in other works as collecting documents, identifying and locating the people,” said former UP DGP Atul, who heads the four-member SIT.

Of the total 1,254 cases registered in Kanpur during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the SIT has selected 38 cases of heinous crimes of murder and dacoity to further investigate it.

Of these 38 cases, the Kanpur police, which had earlier investigated them, had filed chargesheets in 12 and submitted closure reports in the remaining 26 on various grounds.

After taking over the probe in the 38 cases, the SIT had sent letters to the concerned police stations seeking documents related to the cases, including FIRs. Another letter was sent to the district chief medical officer (CMO) seeking autopsy reports of those killed in the riots.

Sources in the SIT said that they have not been able to get some of the old FIRs as they have been “weeded out”. Moreover, Kanpur police are still in the process of providing them other documents, SIT sources said.

Sources also said that CMO office has so far failed to provide the postmortem reports to the SIT.

In all, 127 persons were killed during the Kanpur riots.

As a result, the SIT is facing difficulty to begin its investigation, an official said.

In absence of the relevant documents, the SIT has now started to approach the complainants and witnesses of the 38 cases in the hoping that they may be in possession of the documents related to their cases. While some witnesses and complainants have been traced in UP, many others have moved to Punjab and Chandigarh, the official added.

On February 5, the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government had ordered to set-up a four-member SIT, headed by Atul to examine the cases filed during the 1984 Sikh riots. The other three members of the SIT are retired district judge Subhash Chandra Agarwal and former additional DG Yogeshwar Krishna Srivastava and Superintendent of Police Balendu Bhushan Singh.

The government had directed that SIT to examine the riot cases in which closure reports were filed or in which those accused were acquitted or those pending for an investigation.

The government also directed that if found appropriate, the SIT will investigate the cases under provisions of section 173 (8) of the CrPC. As per the section, the investigating agency will have the power to put before the court new evidence.

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