New Delhi: The Delhi court that acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case on Tuesday did so as it felt that he should be given the benefit of doubt, the verdict has revealed. The court verdict, that was released on Wednesday, quoted District and Sessions Judge JR Aryan as saying, "In my view Sajjan Kumar deserves to be given the benefit of doubt."
The court refused to accept the testimonies of Jagdish Kaur, Jagsher Singh and Nirpreet Kaur about the role of Kumar in the case, the verdict revealed.
Sajjan Kumar was on Tuesday acquitted of all charges in a case relating to the 1984 riots. District and Sessions Judge JR Aryan acquitted Kumar while convicting five others - Balwan Khokkar, an ex-councillor, Mahender Yadav, an ex-MLA, Kishan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal - for their involvement in the case.
The pronouncement of judgement witnessed a huge uproar by the protesters one of whom hurled a shoe at the judge soon after he acquitted Kumar in the case of riots that broke out 29 years ago on October 31, 1984, after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Kumar, a former Lok Sabha MP from Outer Delhi, still faces trial in another 1984 rioting case. In a third case, Delhi Police has filed a closure report, saying there was no evidence against Kumar to implicate him.
On Wednesday, there were protests across Delhi, Punjab, Jammu and the US. In Delhi, the metro services were disrupted for a brief while as the Sikh protesters walked on platforms chanting slogans.
Sikh groups in Jammu blocked the Jammu-Kashmir Highway on Wednesday morning. Activists of several Sikh organisations led by Harjeet Singh sat on a dharna and took out demonstrations at Digiana on the outskirts of the city.
In Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal Haryana (Badal) protested at Gurudwara Manji Sahib in Ambala city against Kumar's acquittal. The leaders raised slogans against the Central government and said the decision had hurt the sentiments of Sikh community.
Sikh-Americans disappointed with Sajjan's acquittal
The Sikh-American community also expressed its deep disappointment over Sajjan Kumar's acquittal. In a statement, California-based North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) alleged the investigating agency "colluded with the guilty" to let them go scot-free and said the verdict has dashed hopes of people who waited for nearly three decades for justice.
"The special CBI court verdict surprised us as the court acquitted the Congress leader but convicted five other accused - Mahinder Yadav, Balwan Khokhar, Krishan Khokhar, Captain Bhamal and Girdhari Lal," NAPA Chairman Dalwinder Singh Dhoot said in a statement.
With additional information from PTI