“Gawahi badal do, muawza milega aur flat dilwa dunga”
“Change your testimony, you will get money and I will give you a flat”
This sums up the 28 years of the quest of justice for Anek Kaur, a victim of the 1984 anti sikh riots in which more than 3000 Sikhs were butchered in Delhi alone. Though she did not change her statement, many others did. After all, the living cannot die for those who are already dead. If you changed your statement, you would get the much-needed money to rebuild your life, ironically from the same people who destroyed it in the first place. However if you refused to comply, not only would you not get anything, you will to face a lifetime of disappointment, threats and penury.
Sajjan Kumar has been acquitted by a Delhi court in a case associated with the ’84 massacre. The so-called investigations and trial of the riots have become a classic study in how, in the esteemed republic of India, the powerful escape the hands of justice through money and muscle power. In this case too, while the foot soldiers have been convicted, the bosses will go home with a smile on their faces.
Sajjan Kumar has been let off because just three witnesses of the total 17 confirmed that he instigated the mobs which murdered 5 Sikhs in the Delhi Cantonment area on that fateful day. The others obviously chose to look the other way, but for someone like Nirpreet Kaur, who father was burnt alive in front of her eyes, this comes as a shocker. This acquittal comes to her as a clear negation of even the notion of justice.
On 31st October 1984, Sajjan Kumar, Congress MP, distributed kerosene cans and money. His men roamed with voter lists in hand, systematically marking and eliminating their targets. The victims were first brutally beaten up with iron rods, then forced to cut their hair and finally burnt alive. This was how the earth shook when a big tree fell; and the only response India could offer for this barbarism was an acquittal and a shoe thrown at the Judge. Looking at how 1984 unfolded, I wonder if 1992 and 2002 happened because the mob-bosses had the knowledge that they could get away with any thing.
Consider this post as my obituary to Justice…
Photo Courtesy: livemint.com