A Delhi court on Tuesday sentenced to death one of the two convicts found guilty of killing two Sikh men during the 1984 riots, the first capital punishment in the case.

The other convict was sentenced to life in prison.

The verdict was pronounced in Tihar Jail due to security concerns and attack on convict in Delhi court premises.

Yashpal Singh was given death penalty whereas, Naresh Sehrawat was awarded life imprisonment for killing Hardev Singh and Avtar Singh in south Delhi’s Mahipalpur during the riots.

On November 14, the court had convicted Singh and Sherawat for killing two men here during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots — the first conviction in the cases reopened by the SIT.

The court held both the accused guilty under various sections including 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 395 (dacoity) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the IPC.

The Delhi Police had closed the case in 1994 for want of evidence. However, a Special Investigation Team on the riots reopened it.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on 1984 anti-Sikh riots had earlier on Thursday sought death penalty for the two convicts, saying that it was part of a “genocide” against members of a particular community and fell under the rarest of rare category of cases warranting the capital punishment.

Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Pandey had reserved for November 20 the order on the quantum of punishment to be awarded to Naresh Sherawat and Yashpal Singh.

The SIT demand was opposed by the counsel appearing for the convicts who sought life imprisonment for his clients, the minimum for the offence of murder.

During the proceedings, the public prosecutor for SIT Surinder Mohit Singh said that it was “brutal murder of two innocent young persons aged around 25 each. It was a planned murder since the accused were carrying kerosene oil, sticks etc.”

It was not the only incident in Delhi and around 3,000 people were killed, he added.

The case was lodged on a complaint filed by Santokh Singh, a brother of Hardev Singh.

Of the 650 cases registered in connection with anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, 267 were closed as untraced by the Delhi Police. Of these 267 cases, five were later taken up by the CBI. The SIT also scrutinised the records of 18 cancelled cases.

The SIT found 60 cases appropriate for further investigation. It filed “untraced report” in 52 cases in the last one-and-a-half years.

Out of the eight cases being investigated, charge sheets have been filed in five and three, in which senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar is an accused, are pending investigation.

(With PTI inputs)