BJP Blames Congress for Delay in Sajjan’s Decision, Twitterati Ask About Gujarat 2002 Accused

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Sajjan Kumar (Photo Credit- PTI)

Ghazanfar Abbas | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI— With BJP leaders hailing the Delhi High Court verdict which held Congress leader Sajjan Kumar guilty in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and awarded him life imprisonment, several activists, journalists and even academics questioned the delay in delivering justice in the 2002 Gujarat massacres of Muslims and other religious minorities.

Twitter was abuzz with tweets concerning the justice being delayed in the 2002 Gujarat riots. Journalist-turned-author Swati Chaturvedi‏, who has authored I Am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of the BJP’s Digital Army in a tweet expressed sadness about the delay in justice for the 1984 riots.

In the very next Tweet, she was seen questioning BJP leader and current Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley’s “double standard” for hailing the HC judgment in the1984 anti-Sikh riot case.

Jaitley had tweeted, “Justice for the victims of 1984 was buried by the Congress – the NDA restored fairness and accountability.”

Having welcomed HC judgment, eminent activist Teesta Setalvad, who has been fighting for justice in various cases of Gujarat’s anti-Muslim pogrom tweeted, “Finally. Thirty Four Years. Wish survivours of Nellie 1983, Bhagalpur 1989 and Gujarat 2002 (some of whom r already convicted, later acquitted) get the same rewards.”

Eminent historian, Syed Irfan Habib tweeted, “Congress leader Sajjan Kumar should have been convicted and punished for the crimes he committed long back. Hope all others accused of rioting and killing are punished soon.”

It is to be noted that while awarding life imprisonment to Sajjan Kumar, Delhi HC bench comprising justice S. Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel had also mentioned the existence of a familiar pattern in other massacres of religious minorities including Mumbai (1993), Gujarat (2002), Kandhmal (2008) and Muzaffarnagar (2013).

“In India, the riots in early November 1984 in which in Delhi alone 2,733 Sikhs and nearly 3,350 all over the country were brutally murdered (these are official figures) was neither the first instance of a mass crime nor, tragically, the last. The mass killings in Punjab, Delhi and elsewhere during the country’s partition remains a collective painful memory as is the killings of innocent Sikhs in November 1984. There has been a familiar pattern of mass killings in Mumbai in 1993, in Gujarat in 2002, in Kandhamal, Odisha in 2008, in Muzaffarnagar in U.P. in 2013 to name a few,” noted the bench.

Tweeting along the same line was Professor Ashok Swain. He tweeted, “Law finally catches up. Hopefully, it will not take 34 years for the perpetrators of 2002 Muslims mass killings!”

Attack by non-BJP leaders

In an attacking tweet senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said Sajjan Kumar was not given ticket for any election by his party while those suspected in Gujarat 2002 anti-Muslim riots occupied highest positions under BJP rule.

Sharing a paragraph of the judgment, CPI (M) general Secretary, Sitram yechuri tweeted,” The victims of communal riots must get justice, whether from 1984, from 2002 and whenever else. Political leaders who led, backed and shielded mobs, must be brought to justice.”

Nationalist Congress Party MLA Jitendra Ahwad also asked Arun Jaitley in his tweet: “Who was symbol of 2002 Gujarat riots , please answer Mr.Jaitley.”

In the judgment, HC noted that common attribution to mass crimes targeting of minorities in attacks led by “Dominant Political Actors”.

“Common to these mass crimes were the targeting of minorities and the attacks spearheaded by the dominant political actors being facilitated by the law enforcement agencies. The criminals responsible for the mass crimes have enjoyed political patronage and managed to evade prosecution and punishment,” the court order said.

“Neither “crimes against humanity” nor “genocide” is part of our domestic law of crime. This loophole needs to be addressed urgently,” noted the court.

Targeting BJP, APP leader Jairnail Singh in his tweet hoped that the next in the line of justice started from 1984, will be Gujarat 2002.

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