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1984 riots: Kejriwal asks PM Modi 'to do something or wind up' the SIT, Phoolka justifies ad

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

Justifying the Delhi government's advertisement in which Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get the SIT probing the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984, 'to do something or to wind it up', senior lawyer HS Phoolka on Monday said pressure must be put on the Centre, so that justice is meted out to victims of the deadly massacre.

Phoolka said, "The purpose of the advertisement is that in a democracy, you mobilize public opinion and it is the public pressure which is built up if the government is not acting."

Over 30 years after anti-Sikh riots shook Delhi and neighbouring states, the SIT, formed by the Centre last year, has decided to reopen 75 cases.

Commenting on the decision, the senior lawyer said this should have been done one-and-a-half years ago when the SIT was formed.

Phoolka said it was not very clear what the Centre was proposing to do with regard to the probe.

"Which case they are planning to reopen? And now also they say that they will give advertisement, they will invite the victims. I don't see the reason behind giving advertisements and inviting the victims. They have the addresses of the victims. They can go and get the records from the victims," he said.

"Rather than doing this drama, they should go to the places where these open killings took place and contact the victims. The way the Central Government is dealing with this case clearly indicates that it is just eyewash. They are not sincere. They do not want to secure punishments for anyone. Modi Government is not sincere about punishing the guilty," he added.

In a full page advertisement in almost all the leading dailies, the Delhi Chief Minister urged Prime Minister Modi to either get the SIT, constituted by the Home Ministry, 'to do something, or wind it up and allow the Delhi Government to set up an SIT, which will do proper investigations and get justice for the victims.'

"As you are aware, this year marks the 32nd year of the anti-Sikh massacre. In these 32 years, 10 Commissions and Committees have investigated the matter but justice has eluded the victims. It was a long standing demand of Sikh Community that an SIT be set up. However, no Government ever did anything in this regard in 30 years," read the advertisement.

"During 49 days of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, my Cabinet took decision to form Special Investigation Team (SIT) to bring culprits to justice. Unfortunately, our government didn't last long to implement that decision. We were keen to form SIT and include this demand in our election manifesto," it added.

As per the norm, the SIT, which has decided to reopen at least 75 cases related to the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984, will issue advertisements regarding these cases and ask the victims and witnesses to join the probe.

A total of 3,325 people were killed in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states in the riots after Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards on 31 October, 1984.

Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths.

First published: 20 June 2016, 12:27 IST