What’s Next After Sajjan Kumar’s Life Term? Justice for 1984 and 2002 Victims

Politics

What’s Next After Sajjan Kumar’s Life Term? Justice for 1984 and 2002 Victims

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

W

hat plans do you have for December 31? If you’re Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, your New Year’s Eve surrendering yourself to the custody of the Delhi High Court. In a landmark ruling, the Delhi HC overruled the 73-year-old’s earlier acquittal by a trial court in 2013, finding him guilty of the murder of a Sikh family and attacks on a gurudwara during the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984. Of course, Kumar is already working on filing an appeal before the Supreme Court, due to be heard on January 2 next year, but that doesn’t take away from the momentous nature of the ruling.

It’s taken 35 years, but Kumar’s conviction is a watershed moment for the surviving kin of the more than 3,000 people who lost their lives during the four days of mob violence in 1984. In its judgement, the HC noted that “criminals responsible for the mass crimes have enjoyed political patronage and managed to evade prosecution and punishment.” Senior Counsel for the victims, HS Phoolka, also argued before the court that “[Kumar] has enjoyed impunity and has always been beyond the reach of the law.”

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