1984 Riots: Court Issues Warrant for Sajjan Kumar

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) A city court Wednesday issued a non-bailable warrant for Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in two cases of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, paving the way for his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Lokesh Kumar issued the warrants for Sajjan Kumar and six others accused in the two cases for Feb 23. The Delhi High court is to hear his anticipatory bail plea Thursday after he failed to secure relief Wednesday.

Magistrate Lokesh Kumar took exception to Sajjan Kumar's absence in the court after the Delhi High Court refused to grant him relief.

"He (Sajjan) was duty-bound to appear...The accused was called to appear before the court but he chose to challenge before superior court...but he could not get any relief. He was duty-bound to honour the court's order," Lokesh Kumar osbserved.

The CBI can arrest Sajjan Kumar any time now as long as he is not granted bail by the high court.

"...Mere pendency of the bail application in the absence of any specific order from the superior court" cannot constitute a valid ground for granting exemption for appearance, the court said.

CBI's special prosecutor R.S. Cheema opposed Sajjan Kumar's exemption application from appearing in the court and said: "Allowing such a plea would be tantamount to granting relief to the accused, which for the time being has not been allowed by the high court. A wrong message will go in society if the accused is set free like this."

"He (Sajjan) had enough time to file the anticipatory bail plea but waited for the last day when the summons were to be executed. This is clear-cut violation of law," he added.

The CBI had chargesheeted 13 people, including Sajjan Kumar, on Jan 13 in two 1984 riot cases for allegedly making provocative speeches leading to the killing of 12 people in the violence that broke out following the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Scores of Sikhs staged a demonstration outside the Karkardooma court Wednesday afternoon, demanding capital punishment for Sajjan Kumar. Over 3,000 Sikhs were killed across Delhi in the days following Indira Gandhi's assassination Oct 31, 1984.

"We are happy with the court order and it should have been done earlier. It's the first step to justice and we will get justice only when Sajjan Kumar and others will be given stringent punishment for killing so many innocent people," Babu Singh Dukhiya, president of 1984 Riots Victims' Society in Tilak Nagar, told IANS.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court deferred till Thursday hearing on Sajjan Kumar's anticipatory bail plea.

Justice S.L. Bhayana said: "I don't want to do injustice to any of the party as I have not dealt or read the file. Let the matter be listed before the regular bench Thursday."

The high court gave relief to two other accused - Brahmanand and Peru - by putting a stay on their arrest.

Opposing Sajjan Kumar's bail plea, senior advocate H.S. Phoolka, appearing on behalf of victims' families, said: "These facts presented by the accused persons are not correct. They wanted to take court for a ride. If this strategy follows, then faith of people in judiciary will finish."

The Bharatiya Janata Party's Delhi unit demanded that Sajjan Kumar be arrested immediately.

It demanded that the central government, the Delhi government and Delhi Police strongly appeal against his bail plea in the high court.


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