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The 88 accused had been convicted for their role in the riots that broke out in Delhi’s Trilokpuri area a day after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination

Over 38 years after the anti-Sikh riots and nearly 22 years after they were first convicted for the pogrom, the Delhi High Court, on Wednesday (November 28) upheld the five-year jail term awarded by a trial court to 88 persons accused in a rioting case.

Only 47 of these 88 convicts are now alive – a grim reminder of the slow pace of justice in the country.

The trial court had in, 1996, held these 88 persons guilty of rioting, arson and curfew violations in East Delhi’s Trilokpuri area on the days following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards.

According to news reports, advocate HS Phoolka, appearing for the riot victims, said that according to a first information report filed in the case, 95 people had died in the rioting in Trilokpuri and over 100 houses were burnt.

The Delhi High Court has said that the 47 convicts in the case still alive today will have to surrender before the Delhi police. “Their punishment is the same. They will have to surrender to the police and complete their sentence,” Phoolka told reporters.

The Delhi High Court’s verdict comes days after the Patiala House Court, on November 20, sentenced to death one of two men found guilty of killing two Sikh men during the 1984 riots. This was the first death sentence given in a case related to the pogrom.


— India Legal Bureau

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