New Punjab Govt. must support struggle for justice for 1984 Sikh Massacre

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newznew (Chandigarh) : The new government of Punjab must heed the call of over 600,000 people in Punjab who have joined hands with Amnesty International India to demand justice for the 1984 Sikh massacre, Amnesty International India said today at a discussion held at Chandigarh Press Club Here today.

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Home Ministry in February 2015 to reinvestigate closed cases related to the massacre received a third extension in February. It has now been given time till August 2017 to complete its probe.

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The SIT has told the Supreme Court that it had identified 59 cases for reinvestigation, out of 267 closed by the Delhi police after the massacre. Of these, it has closed 38 cases and filed charges in four. The Supreme Court is hearing a public interest litigation on the functioning of the SIT, filed by Gurlad Singh Kahlon.

Amnesty International India organised the discussion to discuss the campaign, the functioning of the SIT, and its potential to provide justice for the victims and survivors of the massacre.

“It is time the government enacted a law that will make those at the helm of affairs – politicians, police and bureaucrats- accountable for dereliction of duty when they fail to prevent communal violence,” said Harminder Kaur, a senior journalist.

Sanam Sutirath Wazir, from Amnesty International India, said, “The SIT has disappointed many who have struggled for justice. It has only filed four charge sheets in over two years, following a non-transparent process. The status report submitted to the Supreme Court does not even mention the reasons for closing the cases it had identified for reinvestigation.”

Amnesty International India launched a public campaign in 2014 on the 30th anniversary of the massacre to demand justice and accountability. Since then, the campaign has gathered several supporters, including 600,000 people in Punjab.

“Many survivors are hoping that the new government taking office in Punjab will support their demands, and help deliver long-awaited justice,” said Sanam Sutirath Wazir.

Background Information: At least 3000 Sikh men, women and children were killed, mainly in Delhi, in 1984 over the course of four days of killing and looting that followed the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Yet only a tiny fraction of those responsible have been brought to justice.

The Delhi Police closed investigations into hundreds of cases after the massacres, citing lack of evidence. Only a handful of police personnel charged with neglecting their duty and offering protection to the attackers have been punished.