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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

1984 trial finally begins

A recent article by Zee News discusses Harvinder Kaur's struggle for justice. She lost her husband and other relatives in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms; on April 29, a Delhi court finally began recording evidence.

When Harvinder Kaur initially attempted to file a FIR twelve years ago, the East Delhi police refused to register it. The FIR was finally registered in 1996, and named six people including the late Congress leader HKL Bhagat. He was later discharged from the case for lack of evidence.

Based on Harvinder Kaur's affadavit, the Jain committee recommended the registration of the case. The court began recording Harvinder Kaur's statements on April 29. Five Congress workers have been charge-sheeted for the killing of her husband, her son, and her son in law.
In her deposition, Kaur said she was witness to the incident in which a mob, allegedly led by local congress leaders, stabbed and hacked to death with swords three members of her family on November 2, 1984.
The delays and problems with prosecution that Harvinder Kaur experienced are typical of cases relating to the 1984 pogroms. Her testimony also demonstrates the role Congress party politicians had in organizing the violence, and how delays in filing FIRs and other tactics prevented the prosecution of perpetrators.

Twenty Years of Impunity: The November 1984 Pogroms of Sikhs in India
reveals the systematic and organized manner in which state institutions, such as the Delhi Police, and Congress (I) officials perpetrated mass murder in November 1984 and later justified the violence in inquiry proceedings. The report demonstrates that police officers not only passively observed the violence, but also actively participated in the attacks and made promises of impunity to assailants. The report also examines the role of the Congress Party in organizing the massacres, delivering inflammatory speeches instructing attendees to kill Sikhs, and distributing weapons, money, and voter lists identifying Sikhs and their properties. Grave lapses in police investigations, delays in filing cases, the failure to identify and investigate prosecution witnesses, the deliberate misrecording of witness statements, and the failure to comply with legal procedures precluded effective prosecutions against major perpetrators.

In other news related to the 1984 pogroms, Rs 26 lakh in compensation was paid to families of victims of the 1984 pogroms on April 24.
Mr Amarjit Pal, SDM, gave cheques to 13 kin of the victim of riots. A sum of Rs 2 lakh each was given to the victim families.

Mr Pal said another Rs 14 lakh would be distributed among the families of the riot-hit soon.
[This entry is cross-posted on ENSAAF's blog]

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