Set up SIT for Sikh ‘genocide’, Badal asks Modi

Chandigarh (IANS): Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Sunday sought the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in constituting a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe all cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

In a letter to Modi, Badal said the “genocide” of Sikhs was a “pre-planned” incident at the behest of Congress leaders.

Badal urged the central government to take an immediate call on the recommendations of the Justice (retd) G.P. Mathur panel, constituted by the Centre in December last year, to re-investigate several cases related to anti-Sikh violence that broke out in November 1984 after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

The chief minister said the Shiromani Akali Dal has been struggling to get justice for the victims of the 1984 riots in Delhi and other parts of the country.

He said that on the Akali Dal’s demand, the Justice Mathur panel was constituted in December 2014, by the central government to examine the possibility of setting up of an SIT for re-investigating the 1984 ‘genocide’.

Badal said the panel had, in its 45-page report, suggested setting up of an SIT.

Demanding re-investigation of many cases where crucial evidence was overlooked and cases were closed by Delhi Police even without sending them to courts, Badal said all such cases needed to be re-opened.

Accusing the previous Congress-led government at the Centre and in Delhi of pushing the anti-Sikh riots cases under the carpet, Badal said the recommendations of the Mathur panel had given new hope to victims of the riots.

“By doing so, the government of India will assuage the bruised psyche of the Sikh community and help them get justice,” Badal said.

Hundreds of Sikhs were targeted and killed in Delhi and other places across India by mobs in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her two Sikh security personnel in October 1984.

Many Congress leaders were accused of instigating mobs to target Sikhs during the riots.

Meanwhile, an Akali Dal delegation Sunday met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and demanded an SIT to probe the 1984 riots as per recommendations of the committee.

Stating that justice delayed was justice denied, party leader and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Committee chief Manjit Singh G.K. said: “We met the home minister and told him that the government should act on the recommendations of the Justice Mathur report and the SIT must be constituted with immediate effect.”

He said Rajnath Singh assured them that justice will be done.

However, the Aam Aadmi Party attacked the government and described it as a political gimmick to woo voters ahead of the polls.

AAP leader H.S. Phoolka said if it was true, the findings of the retired Supreme Court judge were a severe indictment of the BJP-led government which has continued to stall the SIT ordered by then chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in February 2014.

“The government has to explain to the citizens of the country and the victims why it continued to stall this SIT for these nine months,” he asked.

“Badal continued to shift his stand on the SIT. In February 2014, he said there was no need of the SIT. When the NDA came to power, he said the SIT should be Supreme Court-monitored and later said there was no need of an SIT and a commission should be appointed.”

He said the findings of the Mathur panel were a severe indictment of Badal also.