THE Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Uttar Pradesh government in February this year to examine and probe anti-Sikh riot cases lodged in Kanpur after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, have decided to further investigate 35 cases then registered at different police stations of Kanpur district during the riots.
The SIT came to the conclusion after going through records of total 1,254 cases registered in Kanpur during 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
On February 5, the state government ordered to set-up a four member SIT headed by former UP DGP Atul to examine the cases filed during 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Atul is chairman while District judge (retired) Subhash Chandra Agarwal and additional DG, prosecution (retired) Yogeshwar Krishna Srivastava are its members. Superintendent of Police Balendu Bhushan Singh is a member-secretary.
Task far from over, their work cut out
The Yogi Adityanath government ordered probe into 1984 anti-riot cases just before notification for Lok Sabha elections. It was then seen as an attempt by the BJP Government in the state to woo people of Sikh community, which had been long demanding further probe into these cases. The SIT has now started the process and identified 35 cases which needed to be probed further. However, now investigating the case and collecting evidence after 34 years of the incidenst would be a major task for Special Investigation Team (SIT). The agency would have to revisit place of occurrence, trace victims and accused named in these case after three decades to record their statements.
The government directed that SIT should examine cases in which closure reports were filed, those in which accused were acquitted and also the cases pending for investigation. If found appropriate, the SIT will investigate the cases under provisions of section 173 (8) of the CrPC.
“In all 1,254 cases were registered in Kanpur during 1984 anti-Sikh riot and police filed chargesheet in 153 cases and filed closure report in 1101 other cases. A total of 127 persons were killed in the clash,” said Balendu Bhushan Singh.
“Of the total 1,254 cases, we identified 39 cases which were serious in nature, such as as murder and dacoity. Of the 39 cases, police filed chargesheet in just four case while in other 35 cases closure report were filed showing different reasons. We decided to further investigate 35 cases,” added Balendu Bhushan Singh.
The SIT office has been opened on the first floor of the City Kotwali police station building which was earlier being used as Kanpur police’s crime branch office.
“After obtaining permission from local court, the SIT would study the record of 35 cases. SIT team would then record statement of people including victims of those 35 cases. SIT would also check the status of four cases in which chargesheet was filed and if required permission would be sought for further investigation,” Singh added.
A team consisting of inspectors, sub-inspectors, head constables and constables has been formed to assist SIT investigation. A letter has been sent to Director General, Prosecution, Sujan Vir Singh requesting to provide two prosecuting officers to assist in the investigation, said Balendu Bhushan Singh.
Taking a suo motu decision after taking cognizance of requests made in a petition related to the Sikh riots filed in the Supreme Court, the state government in February decided to form SIT in the riot cases. The tenure of the SIT has been fixed at six months.