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Sajjan Kumar convicted: Akalis hail verdict, BJP points at Kamal Nath

The Delhi High Court on Monday held Sajjan Kumar and five others guilty in the anti-Sikh riot case


File photo | Photo: PTI
File photo | Photo: PTI

Non-political parties on Monday hailed the conviction of senior leader for his role in the 1984 in Delhi, calling it a historic judgement and that justice finally delivered to the victims.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders said president Rahul Gandhi should explain how his party could appoint Kamal Nath as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh when the state leader's name too figures as an accused in the riots. Here's what Opposition leaders are saying about the judgment.

A delayed vindication of justice: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

BJP leader and Union Minister Arun Jaitley said the conviction was "a delayed vindication of justice".

"Justice for the victims of 1984 was buried by the Congress. The NDA restored fairness and accountability... The Congress and the Gandhi family legacy will continue to pay for the sins of the 1984 riots," Jaitley tweeted.

The Congress, he said, had repeatedly tried to cover up the truth. "But today, he (Sajjan Kumar) has been convicted."

BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav welcomed the verdict and thanked Home Minister Rajnath Singh for reopening the cases "deliberately suppressed by the previous government".

Expel Kamal Nath from Congress: BJP

Spokesperson Sambit Patra has accused Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath of being involved in the case, demanding he be expelled from the party.

Stating that Kamal Nath's name has cropped up along with affidavit and evidence submitted in a report to the Nanavati Commission, Patra also demanded that Rahul Gandhi should step down as Congress president.

"A man involved in has been made the MP (Madhya Pradesh) CM. Mr Rahul Gandhi must expel him from the party," Patra demanded.

Sajjan Kumar's conviction a severe jolt for Congress: Prakash Javadekar

Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the conviction was a "jolt" for the party and demanded action against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath for his alleged involvement in the riots.

"The 1984 was a one-sided massacre...the convicting Sajjan Kumar, in this case, is a severe jolt for the Congress," Javadekar told reporters.

A justice finally delivered: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh

Terming it a case of justice finally delivered to the victims of one of the worst instances of communal violence in independent India, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh welcomed the conviction of in the 1984 riots case.

Commenting further on the High Court verdict, the chief minister said, "The reversal, by the High Court, of the earlier acquittal of Sajjan by a trial court had once again proved that the judiciary in India continues to stand tall as a pillar of the nation's democratic system".

Gandhi family has a lot to answer for: Harsimrat Kaur Badal

Launching a scathing attack on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi soon after the conviction of Congress leader in 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal said: "Look at the extent of patronage where one accused is being sworn in as Chief Minister, the other accused is being given life sentence by the court."

"This is the extent of political patronage of Gandhi family. I think the Gandhi family has a lot to answer for. Today I demand an answer from Rahul Gandhi who said a few days ago that Congress had no hand in genocide," added Badal.

"It is Sajjan Kumar today. It will be tomorrow, then Kamal Nath and eventually, the Gandhi family will be answerable. I demand that action must be taken against Sonia Gandhi who must have been in compliance with all that Rajiv Gandhi was planning and perpetrating," said the Union Minister.

Our fight will continue: Shiromani Akali Dal

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday also hailed the conviction of Sajjan Kumar and said that the leader should be given a death sentence.

"We thank the court for giving justice to us. Our fight will continue till Sajjan Kumar and get a death sentence and Gandhi family is dragged to the court and put in jail," said SAD leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa.

"When in 1984, the media questioned Rajiv Gandhi that why the Army is not being deployed to bring law and order, he turned both police and the Army into silent-spectators. Following the trend, Congress has always tried to save Kamal Nath, Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Singh and HKL Bhagat. However, I welcome the conviction but I still feel that the death sentence could have done more justice to us. Today Rahul Gandhi has to answer why he made Kamal Nath a chief minister of Madhya Pradesh," senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majitha said.

Nobody is above law: Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee

Sunil Kumar Jakhar, president of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee said the party has been clear that whoever was involved in the riots should be brought to justice.

"Yes, justice has been delayed but delivered finally. Nobody is above law and anyone who is involved in such a heinous crime should be brought to justice," the Congress MP told reporters outside Parliament.

He also said Congress leader Kamal Nath's name never figured in the list of those involved in the riots.

A very long and painful wait for innocent victims: Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister welcomed the verdict convicting the 73-year-old Congress leader.

"It has been a very long and painful wait for innocent victims who were murdered by those in power. Nobody involved in any riot should be allowed to escape no matter how powerful the individual maybe," Kejriwal said on Twitter.

His colleague and Supreme Court lawyer H S Phoolka also welcomed the judgement and thanked everyone for their support and help.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel overturned a trial court judgement that had acquitted the Congress leader and convicted him for criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity and acts against communal harmony.

The high court said Kumar's life imprisonment will be for the remainder of his life and asked him to surrender by December 31. It also asked him not to leave Delhi before that.

"In the summer of 1947, during partition, this country witnessed horrific mass crimes where several lakhs of civilians, including Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus were massacred," the bench said.

"Thirty-seven years later, the country again witnessed to another enormous human tragedy. Following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, on the morning of October 31, 1984, by two of her Sikh bodyguards, a communal frenzy was unleashed."

First Published: Mon, December 17 2018. 17:56 IST