Aam Aadmi Party’s convener and former Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday requested Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to set in motion the process of setting up the Special Investigation Team for probing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots by officially notifying it.
"Some of the witnesses are already old and setting up of the SIT is perhaps their last hope of getting justice in this country. Therefore I request you to kindly expedite the setting up of this team," Kejriwal said in a letter addressed to Jung.
The AAP government on February 6 had recommended to Lt Governor for setting up SIT to probe the anti-Sikh riots with a time frame of one year to submit its report. The modalities of the SIT probe were approved in a cabinet meeting.
Subsequently, the Lt Governor had approved the proposal. In the letter, Kejriwal thanked Jung for supporting his government's decision and asked him to appoint police officers from outside Delhi for a thorough and impartial probe of the "most brutal" incident in the capital's history.
Kejriwal has also suggested names of three senior Indian Police Service officers from outside Delhi who could be appointed to head the SIT and conduct probe.
"Kejriwal impressed upon the LG to ensure quick formation of the SIT since many of the eyewitnesses have already been waiting for 30 years to provide their version of how they lost their near and dear ones in pre-meditated riots in which around 3,000 innocent people lost their lives," a statement released by the AAP said.
The Delhi cabinet while approving the modalities of the SIT probe had stated that all those cases which were closed or shown untraced would be re-opened, re-investigated and if need arises would also file fresh first information reports. Besides that, in those cases where investigations have been completed, charge sheets would be filed.
The former AAP government had kept the Delhi police officials out of SIT, citing the reason that many questions were raised about their role in the case, and under the probe an enquiry into allegations of destruction of evidence by the department would also be done.
The decision to form an SIT had come against the backdrop of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi admitting that some of the partymen were probably involved in the violence but were punished during an interview to a news channel.
In the interview, Gandhi had admitted that "some Congress men were probably involved in 1984 anti-Sikh riots and they have been punished for it".
Gandhi had insisted that the Congress government in 1984 "was not aiding and abetting the riots" but had tried to stop the violence.
The AAP government, however, said it was a promise made to the riots victims during the Delhi assembly election campaign.
"The Delhi cabinet, headed by Arvind Kejriwal had fulfilled the AAP's election promise by approving the setting-up of a SIT to probe among other things, how half of the 587 FIRs registered after the riots were wrongly closed by the police under political pressure to save the Congress leaders who had allegedly led the mobs to kill innocent people in 1984," the statement by AAP said.
"The AAP is of the firm opinion that both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are equally responsible for the lack of justice for 1984 riots victims. The Congress has tried every possible trick to save those who perpetrated and masterminded the riots," the statement added.
"The BJP, on the other hand, has used the riots as a political tool. It was in power in Delhi from 1993 to 1998 and at the Centre between 1998 and 2004. Except for shedding
crocodile tears, this party did nothing concrete to ensure justice for the riot victims," it further said.