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SC acquitted few men convicted of arson, violence in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case

After the extermination of our then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, there broke out a pogrom which directed the attention of the nation towards the response of some people against the Sikhs as a response to the same. There was a public outcry over Mrs. Gandhi’s death which led to these killings of more than thousands of people belonging to the Sikh religion. The estimation by the independent sources was that the numbers of deaths were at about 8,000–17,000. The government estimates projected that about 2,800 Sikhs were killed in Delhi[1].
 
 The trial court on August 27 1996 convicted more than 85 people who were then awarded a five-year jail term for rioting, burning the houses and violation of curfew during the riots. The Delhi High Court upheld the conviction of 70 of these offenders and repudiated their appeals. 15 of these convicts filed appeal in the apex court of the nation on Tuesday, 30th April 2019. The Supreme Court allowed these appeals and thus acquitted these 15 persons and stifled their five-year jail terms. Those who were acquitted had been earlier convicted for fuelling riots in East Delhi's Trilok Puri area.
 
 The bench comprising of Honourable CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta as well as Justice Sanjiv Khanna allowed these appeals basing their decision on the fact that the convictions of these persons lacked evidence. There was no evidence against these people and even eyewitnesses did not identify them directly, the apex court said annexing this acquittal. Those acquitted on Tuesday by the Supreme Court of India include Ganshenan, Ved Prakash, Tara Chand, Surendra Singh (Kalyan Puri), Habib, Ram Shiromani, Brahm Singh, Subbar Singh and Surendra Murti.[2]
 
 Reversing the concurrent judgements by the Trial court as well as the Delhi High Court after nearly 35 years of the alleged involvement of these people acquitted, the Supreme Court took to heed the arguments of the Counsel for the convicts, Advocate R Basant and Advocate V Raghunath who told the bench that these people were randomly picked up by the police for violating the curfew imposed after the rioting and there was no evidence to link them to rioting or arson.
 
 End-Notes
 [1] Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_anti-Sikh_riots
 [2] Source : https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/sc-acquits-nine-convicted-in-1984-riots-case-119043000569_1.html

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