New Delhi: Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was on Tuesday acquitted of all charges by a Delhi court in one of the three 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases, a verdict that evoked vociferous protests from victims' families, one of whom hurled a shoe at the judge.
District and Sessions Judge J R Aryan let off Kumar in the 29-year-old case in which he was accused of murder and of instigating a riotous mob that killed five Sikhs in Delhi's cantonment area.
Five others -- Balwan Khokkar, an ex-councillor, Mahender Yadav, an ex-MLA, Kishan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal -- were convicted today for their involvement in the riots that broke out after the assasination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.
Agitated over Kumar's acquittal, a man hurled a shoe at the judge as protests erupted inside and outside Karkardooma court here today after pronouncement of the verdict, with police detaining him and several others.
Kumar, a former Lok Sabha MP from Outer Delhi who was denied Congress ticket for 2009 elections, still faces trial in another 1984 rioting case. In a third case, Delhi Police has filed a closure report, saying there was no evidence against Kumar to implicate him.
Protesters in big numbers gathered at the Karkardooma district courts complex here and after Kumar's acquittal, complainant Jagdish Kaur sat on protest inside the courtroom saying she would not leave until justice is done.
One of the riots victims, who had lost her son, husband and other family members during the carnage, said, "There is no justice for us.
"My son was killed, my husband along with his brothers were killed. There was reign of terror for three days (during the riots). People were burnt alive."
Expressing shock and anguish at acquittal of Kumar, Shiromani Akali Dal Chief and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal attacked the Congress saying it would not be allowed to put a lid on the issue. (MORE)
'Kill me', says riots victim
The acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar by a Delhi court on Tuesday came as a big jolt for 1984 riots case complainant Jagdish Kaur, who had lost her husband, young son and three cousins during the massacre.
After all the "atrocities" committed by Kumar, he has been acquitted by the court and even after 29 years justice has been denied to her, said Kaur, whose husband Kehar Singh and son Gurpreet Singh were burnt alive by a mob which entered their home in Raj Nagar area here.
"I have carried around this wound for the past 29 years and now I have lost all hopes," she said.
"My whole family was murdered by Kumar and others and now he has been freed, so kill me also," she alleged.
Moments after the judgement was pronounced, Kaur along with her son Gurdeep Singh and few others refused to leave the courtroom, saying she won't go till she gets justice.
Kaur's cousins Raghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh were also killed by the mob during the riots.
"I will not leave from here till I get justice. I will die here. I will sit here until Kumar is held guilty for the crime he committed and gets death penalty," she said.
She also alleged that she was offered a hefty amount by Kumar to keep her "mouth shut and spare him".
"Kumar had offered me Rs 8 crore to keep my mouth shut and to spare him in the case. He had told me that if I do not depose against him, he will get the other accused hanged," she claimed.
She said the court has let off the main accused in the case while convicting the five co-accused, "who were less guilty and were only following his (Kumar) dictates".
"Why has the court convicted the other five accused. If it has acquitted the main accused, the others should also be freed. Kumar was the main conspirator," she said.
Protests erupt inside & outside court, shoe flung at the judge
Angry over the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in an anti-Sikh riots case, a man hurled a shoe at the judge as protests erupted inside and outside Karkardooma court here today after pronouncement of the verdict, with police detaining several people.
Protesters gave a tough time to police as they tried to get into the court complex this afternoon. A large number of people had gathered outside the court before the pronouncement of the verdict and tried to enter the courts but police prevented them.
Anticipating trouble, police had deployed personnel in strength and barricaded the area but some of the protesters managed to enter the complex. However, they could not enter the courtroom.
As soon as the judge acquitted the Congress leader while convicting five persons, angry protesters shouted slogans against Kumar and tried to enter the complex.
Complainant Jagdish Kaur sat on protest inside the courtroom saying she would not leave until justice is done.
One of the victims, who lost her son and husband in the riots after the assassination of the them Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, said there was "no justice" for them.
"There is no justice for us. My son was killed, my husband along with his brothers were killed. There was reign of terror for three days (during the riots). People were burnt alive," the victim said.
43-year-old Karnail Singh Peer Mohammed, president of All India Sikhs Students Federation, who allegedly threw shoe at the judge was arrested while 34 others were detained for protests outside the courts.
Singh, a resident of Punjab's Firozpur, was immediately taken into custody by police and later placed under arrest, a senior police official said.
A case under sections 186 (obstructing public servant from discharging duties) and 353 (assault) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.
He said he never wanted to show disrespect to the court and his intention was only to show the protest and anger of the Sikh community who eagerly awaited justice.
Among those detained were Manjit Singh GK, president of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Gen Secretary of DSGMC, Ravinder Singh Khurana, Sr Vice president DSGMC and Harmit Singh Kaka Jt Secretary DSGMC.