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While delivering the judgement in the case of massacre of Sikhs in 1984 following the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, and sentencing Congress leader Sajjan Kjumar to life imprisonment, Delhi High Court made certain observations which should open the eyes of every one wishing for the country's wellbeing.
73-year old Sajjan Kumar was found guilty of killing 5 Sikhs in the Rajnagar area of Delhi Cantonment during the riots 34 years ago, which according to official figures, killed 2,700 human lives. Delhi High Court observed that the Sikh massacre was not the first or last of such incidents in the country, that in none of these cases the real culprits and perpetrators get punished, and that they all escape through the loopholes of law against 'genocide' and crime against humanity.
"The mass killings in Punjab, Delhi and elsewhere during the country’s Partition remains a collective painful memory as is the killings of innocent Sikhs in November 1984. There has been a familiar pattern of mass killings in Mumbai in 1993, in Gujarat in 2002, in Kandhamal, Odisha in 2008 and in Muzaffarnagar in UP in 2013 to name a few."
The court also noted that all the mass crimes had one common factor of minorities being targeted, and the attacks were spearheaded by political actors in power. “The criminals responsible for the mass crimes have enjoyed political patronage and managed to evade prosecution and punishment. Bringing such criminals to justice poses a serious challenge to our legal system. As these appeals themselves demonstrate, decades pass by before they can be made answerable...”, the court said in its order. The bench consisting of S Muraleedhar and Vinod Goel in its 207 page judgement also noted that racial massacre or crimes against humanity do not come within the ambit of our legal system, and demanded that urgent steps are needed to plus these loopholes.
The court in a way only shares the rampant complaint that in different parts of the country planned attempts for extermination of a certain section of population are taking place, and in all of them the culprits get scot-free by influence of authority; and the bench did it recounting the various notorious racial killings ever since independence. What the counsel for Jagdish Kaur, HS Phulke, lawyer of Supreme Court revealed was that there are stronger evidence than this against Kamal Nath, the newly appointed chief minister of Madhya Pradesh for his role in the Sikh massacre. On the Gujarat killings, mentioned in the court judgement, one witness has been moving from one seat of justice to another, despite her frailties of old age, trying to uncover the perpetrators and accomplices in the murder of her husband and close relatives. It is when the legal system is creating loopholes through which such elephants are slipping away that the bench, with wide open eyes, is lamenting the leakage of mustard granules.
It is customary in India that the protection of political patronage is provided to those responsible for riots. The justification by the then Congress leadership of the massacre of Sikhs, conducted as a revenge against a few Sikh police staff killing prime minister Indira Gandhi, and the response about the Gujarat massacre of 2002 by the current prime minister, who was then Gujarat chief minister, were all in a common language. The court mentioned that what happened in Delhi was that the police and the army washed their hands off and stepped back to let the culprits run amok. And this was repeated during the Gujarat genocide too. In the riot of Kandhamal in 2008 in which 39 Christians were murdered and 54,000 people were driven away, and in the Muzaffarnagar riot, the response of the authorities was tantamount to giving laurels to the perpetrators.
The lynchings by Sangh Parivar terrorist gangs in the name of cow in north Indian states ruled by BJP, are a classic example of this. The voluntary organizationn of persecuted Chrsitians, Open Doors revealed in the beginning of this year that India ranked first among fifty countries where Christians felt insecure. And it was at the same time when the Delhi High Court gave its verdict, that a body of retired officers of the Central Government came out strongly condemning the state terrorism against minority and backward sections by Yogi Adityanath government of Uttar Pradesh. Most independent enquiries revealed that in such killings, minorities and backward classes were particularly targeted. The most recent case of killing high ranking police officer Subodh Kumar Singh, who had taken strong action against the mob lynching by cow vigilante terrorists, and the planned riot in Bulandshahr aiming at his killing, were just accidental incidents in the eyes of Yogi. If in the Delhi High Court verdict the aiding and abetting of mass murders and genocide by top political leadership is mentioned, in UP, Yogi's Hindutva Fascist government has made it its official government agenda. In such a situation, the court observation, however strong it is, gives little room for optimism about its results.