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HC sentences four to life in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case

August 28, 2008 00:20 IST

The Delhi [Images] High Court on Wednesday sentenced four persons to life imprisonment for their involvement into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that followed the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi [Images].

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 21,000 each on Lal Bahadur, Ram Lal, Virender and Surinder Pal Singh after holding them guilty of rioting, murder and conspiracy.

Eighteen years after a trial court acquitted the four citing lack of evidence, a division bench of Justice Manmohan Sarin and S L Bhayana reversed the order and convicted them.

"We may observe here that the liability of the members of unlawful assembly who knew that an offence was likely to be committed in prosecution of the object for which they had assembled is equal to those who commit it," the Bench observed in a judgement on an appeal filed by the state challenging the trial court's acquittal order.

The Bench also said "it is a case where the members of one community were singled out and were murdered and their properties were burnt and looted. Such lawlessness deserved to be sternly dealt with".

According to the prosecution, an FIR was lodged after a complaint was received from Harjit Kaur alleging that her husband and father-in-law were burnt alive by a mob in Sagarpur area in 1984.

When the mob attacked her house and looted the properties, Kaur, her husband Rajinder and father-in-law Sardool Singh had taken shelter in a neighbour's house, according to the prosecution.

The Bench relied upon the statement of Kaur that the accused led the rioters to the house of their neighbour Dr Harbir Singh Sharma's house. Later, they dragged out her husband and the father-in-law were burnt alive, she had told it to the court.

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