Special team to reopen 75 cases of 1984 anti-Sikh riots

New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) A Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Home Ministry will reopen at least 75 cases related to the anti-Sikh riots here in 1984 in the wake of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination, an official source said here on Sunday.

As per the norm, the SIT will issue advertisements regarding these cases and ask the victims and witnesses to join the probe.

The central government’s decision comes in the wake of representations from the Sikh community, especially the 1984 riot victims, and ahead of the Punjab assembly elections early next year.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on June 6 written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, terming the SIT an “eyewash”.

“The SIT has failed to reopen even a single case. I urge you to either get your SIT to do something or kindly wind up this SIT and allow the Delhi government to set up an SIT for proper investigation and get justice for the victims,” Kejriwal wrote in the missive.

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 October 31, 1984.

Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths.

Several Congress leaders, including the likes of late H.K.L. Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, were accused of involvement and complicity in the anti-Sikh carnage.

In May, the Centre approved increased compensation to 1,020 families hit by the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and which migrated to Punjab from different parts of the country.

Following recommendation of retired Justice G.P. Mathur committee, set up by the Narendra Modi government in December 2014 to look into various Sikh grievances, the Centre ordered for providing/upgrading skills of members of the affected families by the Skill Development Ministry and the government of Punjab.

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