Reversing a trial court order in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was convicted and sentenced to life by the Delhi High Court on Monday. Former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and two others were also held guilty in the case relating to the murder of five members of a Sikh family in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984.
Who is Sajjan Kumar?
Sajjan Kumar is a senior politician from the Congress who has been active in Delhi politics since the late 1970s. Kumar first tasted victory in the local municipal election in 1977 and was elected as a councillor. Sajjan later became a member of Parliament on a Congress ticket in 2004 when the UPA came to power after routing the Atal Bihar Vajpayee-led NDA. He won from the outer Delhi parliamentary seat.
Kumar was charged with instigating his supporters following the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. He was also accused of extending political patronage to the rioters. The CBI accused him and four others of killing six Sikh men during the ensuing riots. However, Kumar was acquitted by a trial court in 2013 when it refused to convict him solely on the basis of the eyewitness testimony of the complainant, Jagdish Kaur, who had lost her husband, son and three brothers in the riots.