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‘Need to settle family affairs’: 1984 anti-Sikh riots convict Sajjan Kumar seeks 30 days to surrender

Reversing the acquittal order of the trial court, the Delhi High Court held Sajjan Kumar guilty of the crime and ordered him to surrender by December 31 this year.

SNS | New Delhi |

Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, convicted in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, moved an application before the Delhi High Court on Thursday seeking 30 days to surrender,  saying he has to settle family affairs.

Advocate Anil Sharma, representing 71-year-old Kumar, said they need some more time to file an appeal before the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s verdict and Kumar has to settle his family matters relating to his children and property.

The court will likely hear the application on Friday.

The Delhi High Court had on December 17 convicted Sajjan Kumar and sentenced him to life imprisonment in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, describing the mass killings as “crimes against humanity”.

The case relates to killing of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar part-I area in Palam Colony in South West Delhi on November 1-2, 1984, and burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar part II during that period.

Read | Congress’ Sajjan Kumar convicted in 1984 anti-Sikh riots, sentenced to life in prison

Reversing the acquittal order of the trial court, the high court held him guilty of the crime and ordered him to surrender by December 31 this year.

Senior advocate HS Phoolka, who is representing the families of the riot victims, said he will oppose the application submitted by Sajjan Kumar in the court.

“Sajjan Kumar has filed an application in Delhi High Court to give him a month to surrender. We will oppose that application tomorrow,” Phoolka was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The court while delivering its verdict, further ordered that Sajjan Kumar “shall not from this moment till his surrender, leave the NCT of Delhi and immediately provide to the CBI the address and mobile number(s) on which he can be contacted”.

The court said the “accused enjoyed political patronage and escaped trial”.

“It was an extraordinary case where it was going to be impossible to proceed against Sajjan Kumar in normal scheme of things as there appeared to be ongoing large-scale efforts to suppress cases against him by not even recording them,” the court further observed.

Besides Kumar, Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar were also sentenced to life imprisonment. Kishan Khokkar and former legislator Mahender Yadav were sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The 1984 riots followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984. Hundreds of innocent Sikhs were killed, mainly in Delhi.

According to reports, over 3000 people were killed in the riots in and outside Delhi.

Earlier in the day, Delhi’s Patiala House Court adjourned another 1984 anti-Sikh riots case against Sajjan Kumar for January 22.

Read | Delhi court adjourns second 1984 anti-Sikh riots case against Sajjan Kumar

This was the second case against Sajjan Kumar in which he is facing trial along with two others, Brahmanand Gupta and Ved Prakash on charges of murder and rioting pertaining to the killing of Surjit Singh in Delhi’s Sultanpuri.