Former MLAs Kishan Khokhar and Mahender Yadav, who were convicted in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, surrendered before a Delhi court on Monday to serve a 10-year jail term.

They were convicted in the case in which 73-year-old former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was sentenced to life for the “remainder of his natural life” by the Delhi High Court on December 17.Khokhar and Yadav surrendered before Metropolitan Magistrate Aditi Garg after the court accepted their application to surrender. Kumar is likely to surrender later in the day.

Media was not allowed inside the courtroom.The high court had set a deadline of December 31 for them to surrender and undergo prison term. It had on December 17 also convicted former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal.

The case in which they were convicted and sentenced relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar Part I area of Palam Colony in southwest Delhi on November 1-2, 1984, and burning down of a gurdwara in Raj Nagar Part II.The riots had broken out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her two Sikh bodyguards.

The high court had on December 21 rejected Kumar’s plea seeking extension till January 30 to surrender. He has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the conviction and life sentence awarded by the high court.

In its judgment, the high court had noted that over 2,700 Sikhs were killed in the national capital during the 1984 riots which was indeed “carnage of unbelievable proportions”.It also said the riots were a “crime against humanity” perpetrated by those who enjoyed “political patronage” and aided by an “indifferent” law enforcement agency.

The HC had further said that there had been a familiar pattern of mass killings since Partition, like in Mumbai in 1993, Gujarat in 2002 and Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, in 2013, and the “common” feature of each was the “targeting of minorities” with the attacks being “spearheaded by the dominant political actors, facilitated by law enforcement agencies”.The high court had set aside the trial court’s 2010 verdict which had acquitted Kumar in the case.

 

 

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