The Patiala House Court on Tuesday gave death sentence to accused Yashpal Singh and life imprisonment to Naresh Sehrawat for the 1984 Sikh riots, the first capital punishment in the case.
They were convicted for murdering two Sikhs in South Delhi's Mahipal pur area on November 1, 1984. The verdict was pronounced in the Tihar Jail due to security concerns and attack on the convict on the Delhi court premises.
On November 14, the court had convicted Singh and Sherawat for killing two men here during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots -- the first conviction in the cases reopened by the SIT. The Delhi Police had closed the case in 1994 for want of evidence. However, a Special Investigation Team on the riots reopened it.
Sikh leaders cutting across party lines have welcomed the court verdict and vowed to continue their fight till each and every victim gets justice. Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said they will challenge the life sentence of Sherawat and ensure that even he gets "hanged for his crimes".
"We are satisfied with the judgment but we will keep on fighting and challenge the life sentence of one accused and ensure that even he gets "hanged for his crimes," he said.
He also said the judgment has given witnesses a very big boost and after 34 years they finally got justice. Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief and Akali Dal leader Manjit Singh GK said the judgment will encourage other victims to come forward.
"Other culprits who were hiding behind the Z plus security would be nailed down," he said.
Welcoming the decision, Sardar RP Singh, National Secretary of BJP, urged the Supreme Court to immediately notify the name of third member of the Special Investigation Team formed to monitor further investigation into anti-Sikh riots cases of 1984 mainly in Delhi and other states.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader HS Phoolka said it was a great judgment and now the Sikh leaders are quite hopeful that in other cases also the victims would get justice. A Sikh survivor called the judgement "a start", saying the fight will continue till they get "complete justice" and bring all perpetuators to justice.
Of the 650 cases registered in connection with anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, 267 were closed as untraced by the Delhi Police. Of these 267 cases, five were later taken up by the CBI. The SIT also scrutinised the records of 18 cancelled cases. The SIT found 60 cases appropriate for further investigation. It filed "untraced report" in 52 cases in the last one-and-a-half years. Out of the eight cases being investigated, charge sheets have been filed in five and three, in which senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar is an accused, are pending investigation.
(With PTI inputs)
Details are awaited...