1984 anti-Sikh riots: Delhi court summons Jagdish Tytler

Delhi court summoned former union minister and Congress leader Jagdish Tytler on August 5, saying "sufficient material" was available on record to proceed against him in the case.
1984 anti-Sikh riots: Delhi court summons Jagdish Tytler

New Delhi | Nearly 39 years after three people were killed and a gurudwara was set afire in Pul Bangash area during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, a Delhi court Wednesday summoned former union minister and Congress leader Jagdish Tytler on August 5, saying "sufficient material" was available on record to proceed against him in the case.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vidhi Gupta Anand, who took cognisance of the charge sheet against Tytler, noted that the public prosecutor for the CBI placed reliance on the statements of eyewitnesses who specifically stated during further investigation that they had seen the accused at the spot where the incident occurred.

The CMM noted the prosecutor, citing eyewitnesses, said Tytler was leading and inciting the mob carrying deadly weapons which committed the alleged offences.

The prosecutor said the accused in the case blatantly violated the restrictions that were in force under Section 144 CrPC.

“Upon perusal of the statements of eye-witnesses... as well as statements of other witnesses, site plans prepared by the IO (investigating officer) and other material brought on record by the investigating agency, this court finds that sufficient material is available on record to proceed further with the matter,” the judge said while taking cognisance of the of the third supplementary charge sheet filed in the case.

The first charge sheet was filed in the case on September 28, 2007 but the investigating agency did not recommend any action against Tytler. The two supplementary charge sheets filed on March 27, 2009 and December 24, 2014 also did not suggest action against the Congress leader. It was only when the third supplementary charge sheet was filed that the prosecution sought action against him.

The judge took cognisance of the offences punishable under various sections, including 302 (murder), 148 (rioting), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 188 (disobedience to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant) and 295 (Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) of IPC.

“In view of the above, let accused Jagdish Tytler be summoned through IO

concerned for the next date of hearing,” the judge said and posted the matter for further hearing on August 5.

Tytler, who was not arrested in the case during the investigation, will likely appear before the court on August 5 and seek bail.

Three people were killed and a gurdwara was set ablaze in the Pul Bangash area of the national capital on November 1, 1984, a day after the then prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.

In its charge sheet filed before the court, the CBI said Tytler "incited, instigated and provoked" the mob that had assembled at Pul Bangash Gurdwara in Azad Market on November 1, 1984 that resulted in the burning down of the gurdwara and killing of three Sikhs – Sardar Thakur Singh, Badal Singh and Gurbachan Singh.

A Delhi court had on December 4, 2015 directed further investigation in the case which led to the filing of the present supplementary charge sheet on June 2, 2023 which said there was sufficient evidence to prosecute him.

After the court order, senior advocate H S Phoolka, who has been representing the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in courts for the last four decades, told journalists that Tytler had threatened the witnesses, whose statements became the basis of the supplementary chargesheet, in the past and they were forced to change their testimonies.

“This is a person who deserves to be in jail. If he is outside, he will continue pressurising and threatening the witnesses. The witnesses were available right from the beginning, but the CBI had not earlier recorded their statements which let to clean chit to him. He was very powerful. Now the CBI has recorded those statements,” he said.

He said he will now seek the prosecution of senior Congress leader Kamal Nath for his alleged involvement in the riots.

“Similarly, Kamal Nath, by using his brutal political and money power has been escaping the law,” he said, claiming Nath was present at Gurudwara Rakab Gunj where two Sikhs were burnt alive.

“It is very shameful that he is not only roaming free but also sitting on several high posts. It is a matter of shame for the country that the one who burnt Guru Teg Bahadur's Gurudwara (Gurudwara Rakab Gunj) held so many important posts,” he said.

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