1984 anti-Sikh riots: Delhi HC worried that no post mortem was held of the 3k dead

Above: Sikhs protesting against the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 (file picture). Photo: YouTube The Delhi High Court, on Wednesday (July 12) said it was “concerned” that of the 3,000-deaths in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, not one body had gone through post mortem. “We are only doing it because we are concerned about it and all had happened in Delhi Cantonment area, which is worse,” observed the bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Harishankar. The cases have been re-opened for possible re-trial. In the last hearing, on May 1, the bench had heard the five criminal revision petitions related to retrial of five session cases arising out of an FIR. That had ended in the acquittal/closure of those cases in 1986. The bench had checked the status of notices being served to the respondents/complainants by Delhi Police and gave directions to trace the addresses of the respondent who remain untraced. The bench had separated the five matters and fixed different dates of hearing. The bench also issued production warrant for Balwant Singh Khokhar (lodged in Tihar Jail and accused in three cases). The judges also directed the Delhi Police to place all the death certificates. On Wednesday the respondent – the court has taken this up on its own motion – said: “We have filed the death certificates of the accused persons who have died.” The status of the accused was established as follows: Balwant singh Khokar is to appear in court. Dhanraj is dead. Mahender Singh Manan died 23 years back, while Mahender Singh Yadav is present in court. The bench also took note of the status reports. For Mahender Singh Manan, a status report filed inspector Suresh Kumar states that the death certificate could not be verified as the record had not been placed by district judge in Haryana. The counsel for the police stated that it was very difficult to verify the details of the persons who had died. The bench was in no mood to listen and asked the police to do the verification from the village. The bench suggested to Balwant Singh Khokar: “Please hire a lawyer, because we have to start hearing. We will provide a legal aide to you.” The bench directed that direct legal help should be provided to Khokar from the panel of Delhi High Court. The matter comes up for hearing again on August 9.

India Legal Bureau