The home ministry-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) is likely to re-open around 186 cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and other states like states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. These cases include ones which were not investigated or simply closed due lack of evidence. However, the agency will need permission of the respective courts to re-open each case.
In the riots, which broke out in retaliation against the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984, more than 3,000 people were killed. As many as 2,733 deaths were in Delhi alone. As many as 587 cases in connection with the 1984 riots were registered by the Delhi Police, of which 241 cases were later closed. Four of these cases, however, were reopened in 2006 and one in 2013, leading to 35 people being convicted in the cases. The remaining cases stayed closed.
The Home Ministry had last month announced that 1,020 families who had been hit by the riots and migrated to Punjab from different parts of the country would be given Rs 2 lakh each as part of a centrally-sponsored rehabilitation scheme.
The move assumes political significance as it comes ahead of Assembly elections in Punjab. Earlier this month, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kerjiwal wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him “to either get your SIT to do something, or kindly wind-up this SIT and allow the Delhi government to set up an SIT.” Kerjiwal had claimed that apprehension was growing in the minds of people that the SIT “was just an eyewash”, adding that the 49-day AAP government had decided to form an SIT to probe the 1984 riot cases.