Late in the sixteenth century, William Shakespeare envisioned the life of a Roman General who had lived more than 1700 years earlier. In his mouth, Shakespeare put the words that would be quoted and misquoted for centuries: “Know, that Caesar doth not wrong, nor without cause will he be satisfied.”
After former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar, one of the prime accused in the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots, against whom eyewitnesses have testified, and against whom the Central Bureau of Investigation has collected evidence over years, was acquitted, as he left the court smiling and speaking into his mobile, as he sauntered jauntily past cameras, as angry Sikhs rattled at the locked gates, lines from the play occurred to me.
If Rahul Gandhi, Congress’ newest gaffe-producer, were more coherent, he may have been able to structure a defence of the trial, and of his party, along the lines of Mark Antony’s soliloquy on Ceaser. However, since he puts his foot in his mouth so often that he would find little use for the shoes that are regularly thrown at members of his party, I will do the job for him.
First, though, let’s look at the facts of the case. Since the riots of 1984, there have been 9 committees set up to look into the events of those days.
The Marwah Commission (constituted in November 1984) was asked by the Central government to stop its probe, and pass some records to the Misra Commission (May 1985), whose report recommended the formation of three further committees.
The Dhillon Committee (November 1985), set up to come up with rehabilitation measures for victims, suggested that insurance claims of attacked business establishments be paid, but these were all rejected by the government.
The Kapur Mittal Committee (February 1987) found 72 policemen guilty of negligence and connivance and recommended that 30 be dismissed. That didn’t happen. The Jain-Banerjee Committee (February 1987) whose probe into cases against Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar ended with a recommendation that cases be registered against both, was rendered ineffective when the Delhi High Court quashed the constitution of the committee itself. The Ahooja Committee declared in August 1987 that 2,733 Sikhs had been killed in Delhi alone.
The Potti-Rosha committee (March 1990) echoed the Jain-Banerjee committee in asking that cases be registered against Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler. In December 1990, the Jain-Aggarwal committee, which succeeded Potti-Rosha, recommended a case be registered against H K L Bhagat, in addition to Tytler and Kumar. But no cases were registered, and the probe ended in 1993. The same recommendations were made by the Narula Committee in 1994, and by the Nanavati Commission in May 2000.
How did the Congress get away with the Sikh riots when the President himself was Sikh? And how did its workers get away with murder, in much-delayed trials, when the Prime Minister himself is Sikh?
Well, it’s because the Sikh riots never happened under the supervision of Congressmen. The witnesses are liars, and the Congressmen who allegedly incited mobs were cosseted at home, or in mourning.
Because, the Congress is an honourable party, and it would never lie.
How did Rajiv Gandhi find himself retaining the inherited throne of the Prime Minister, bequeathed to his mother by her father, after he so famously said, “When a big tree falls, the earth shakes”?
Well, he didn’t mean it the way it sounded. And his wife and son, who have inherited the throne – or at least, control of it – from him, have apologised to the Sikhs multiple times from the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Because, Rajiv Gandhi was an honourable man, and he would never condone violence.
How was Jagdish Tytler, indicted in the findings of so many committees, given plum positions, including ministerial berths, in the Congress government, on multiple occasions?
Well, the CBI closed all cases against him in November 2007, claiming no evidence or witnesses were found to corroborate the allegations against him. The cases were reopened by court order, after US-based Jasbir Singh told the media that the CBI had no approached him. Despite recording the testimonies of Jasbir Singh and another eyewitness Surinder Singh, the CBI gave him a clean chit in 2009. This report was rejected by the Supreme Court this April, and Tytler will be subjected to further investigations after all.
But, Tytler claims the reason Jasbir Singh hasn’t come to India is not concern for his security, but because he is a criminal; and he must be right, because all Congress workers are honourable men.
Why has Surinder Singh, Head Granthi of Gurdwara Pul Bangash in 1984, changed his affidavits multiple times, after first saying he saw Tytler leading a mob on the morning of November 1 towards the gurdwara, along with policemen?
We don’t know why he suddenly said he didn’t know what was written in the first affidavit since he couldn’t read English. We don’t know why he told the CBI two years later that Tytler would be responsible for his death, or that Tytler forced him to sign blank papers.
But we do know it must be a case of mistaken identity, because that’s what Jagdish Tytler says, and Tytler is an honourable man.
Meanwhile, another Jagdish – Jagdish Kaur, who says she saw her husband, son and three brothers murdered in front of her eyes, by a mob led by Sajjan Kumar – broke down in court and said she wouldn’t leave until justice was done.
Two weeks ago, she told the court that she had seen actor Amitabh Bachchan shout ‘Khoon ka badla khoon se lenge’, twice, live on Doordarshan.
But she must be lying, because Bachchan is a former Congress MPs, and former Congress MPs are honourable men.
How did the court acquit Sajjan Kumar though the CBI alleged there was a conspiracy of “terrifying proportions” between him and the police? How do the police records show there was complete normalcy in the Delhi Cantonment area, when every probe has found that a large number of Sikhs were killed there? Why were Tytler and Kumar never charge-sheeted in all those years, by the police? Why was it only in 2005 that a charge-sheet was filed, on the recommendations of the Nanavati Commission? How has the Delhi Police filed a closure report citing lack of evidence, in another case against Kumar?
And, after all this, how is the Congress free to point fingers at Narendra Modi, and its Grande Dame authorised to give him the epithet ‘Maut ka Saudagar’, as the country rages that the party has just subverted the judiciary?
Well, surely, it isn’t possible that six policemen lied under oath to the court hearing the case against Sajjan Kumar? Surely, they must be able to ascertain than 29 years ago, he had a perfectly reliable alibi, one that proves that all the witnesses who testified to seeing him incite a mob must be lying?
Because all Congressmen are honourable, and they can do no wrong.
The story is not quite over. Kumar faces trial in other cases of rioting – one which ended in the murder of six people in Sultanpuri area of Delhi, and another in the Nangloi area of the capital. The case against Jagdish Tytler has also been reopened. The families of the victims are planning to appeal against the verdict in the Sajjan Kumar case.
In close to three decades, only 30 people have been convicted in the anti-Sikh riots cases. If the criminals aren’t rounded up and herded off to rotting cells for the remainder of their unworthy lives, the gentleman who told media from outside the court, “Today is worse than 1984”, will be right.
And we can quote Mark Antony again: “O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts.”
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The author is a writer based in Chennai.
She blogs at http://disbursedmeditations.blogspot.com and tweets at @k_nandini