IN A move that assumes political significance ahead of next year’s Assembly elections in Punjab, the Home Ministry-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) is likely to reopen close to 75 cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi that had earlier been closed, according to sources.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had constituted the SIT in February 2015 on a recommendation of a committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice G P Mathur (retd). It was expected to reopen cases which the Delhi Police either did not investigate or simply closed for lack of evidence.
This means cases involving Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, in which chargesheets were never filed, are likely to be reopened and fresh charges filed. In all, 237 anti-Sikh riot cases in Delhi were closed due to non-availability of victims, or over lack of evidence. According to sources, the SIT has decided to reopen approximately 75 such cases after a review.
According to sources, the SIT could soon issue fresh advertisements urging victims and witnesses to come forward and join the probe. In addition, public hearings could also be held to gather more information.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had last week written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to “get the SIT to do something, or kindly wind up this SIT and allow the Delhi government to set up an SIT”. Kejriwal had claimed that apprehension was growing among people that the SIT “was just an eyewash”, and that the 49-day AAP government, in its first term, had decided to form an SIT to probe the 1984 riot cases.
More than 3,000 people were killed in the riots that had broken out following Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Delhi Police had registered 587 cases in connection with the riots, of which 241 cases were later closed. Four of these cases, however, were reopened in 2006, and another reopened in 2013, leading to 35 people being convicted in these cases. The remaining cases stayed closed.