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1984 anti-Sikh Riots: Special Investigation Team (SIT) moves High Court For Cancellation of Bail to Sajjan Kumar

the Special Investigation Team today moved the Delhi High Court seeking cancellation of the anticipatory bail granted by the trial court to Sajjan Kumar in a murder case of three sikhs

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During 1984 anti-Sikh Riots, Wikimedia
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New Delhi, Jan 25, 2017: The Delhi High Court seeking cancellation of the anticipatory bail granted by the trial court to Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the murder case of three Sikhs was moved today by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Justice S P Garg, before whom the plea came up for hearing, asked SIT how the trial court order is illegal and said the respondent is facing trial in other matters also; then how is it possible that he could be present at all spots.

“Where is the illegality in the trial court’s order. 32 years have passed and now you (SIT) are seeking to interrogate him (Kumar) in the matter pertaining to the incident. Prior to November 2016 there was no complaint against him by the present complainant. Suddenly, the complainant has grievances against him (Kumar),” the court’s statement mentioned. It was hearing a plea by SIT, which came in appeal against the trial court’s December 21 last year order that allowed Kumar an anticipatory bail.

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Kumar had been asked to cooperate in the probe and not to influence any witness related to the case. While granting relief to the former MP on a personal bond of Rs one lakh and am assurance of the like amount, the trial court had also stated that he will not be allowed to leave the country without the permission of the court.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, who appeared for SIT, submitted before the bench that the cases filed against Kumar falling in jurisdiction of Janakpuri and Vikaspuri police stations in west Delhi, were lodged after delay of over 30 years as the complaintant was “scared” to birng out the name of the accused due to his “powerful” position.

The ASG submitted that since his name has cropped up during the course of investigation in the case, he needs to be questioned and his custody is also important as he has to be confronted with the evidence in the matter. He said that as per complainant Harvinder Singh, whose counsel also sought cancellation of Kumar’s bail, on the fateful day at around 11 AM, the accused was spotted leading a mob.

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To this, the court asked the ASG, apart from the complainant’s affidavit on the basis of which the cases were filed, if he has anything more to establish the fact that the respondent here was present at the spot. “Do you (SIT) have anything more to establish about his alleged involvement. We are not disputing the incident but his involvement is there or not is a question,” it said. It later asked the ASG to come up with records relating to the other case he is allegedly associated with and for which he has or is facing trial, mentioned PTI.

“There are other cases also against him (Kumar) relating to incidents at different places on the same day. So place before this court, if any, the material to show that the person against whom you have come was present at all spots at different times,” the court mentioned, adding that “it is not possible for a person to be present at all spots at one time”. The ASG asked for time till February 23 by when he could produce all the needed records.

The complaint in Janakpuri pertains to the assasination of two Sikhs — Sohan Singh and his son-in-law Avtar Singh — on November 1, 1984. The other relates to Gurcharan Singh who was burnt on November 2, 1984 in the jurisdiction of Vikaspuri police station. As per the complaint, Gurcharan, who was half burnt, remained bed-ridden for 29 years. He passed away three years ago.

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Seeking anticipatory bail from the trial court, Kumar had argued that his name had come up in the case after a seemingly long time (32 years) and it was motivated politically. Searching for a setting aside of the trial court decision, the high court was told that Kumar was called in twice by SIT but he had showed up only once. SIT has also submitted that delay in registration of FIR and not assigning the investigation of the cases to an independent agency clearly imply the influence of accused/ respondent at that time also.

SIT, which was set up in February 2015 on the direction of the Ministry of Home Affairs to re-investigate the shut case, said that it submitted a detailed status report of the ongoing investigation before the trial court. However, “without appreciating the relevant facts and without taking the established position of law into consideration and on very erroneous grounds, the trial court judge had passed the order and allowed the anticipatory bail applications of the accused/respondent,” it said.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

 

 

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee: A Peace Visionary and a Man Who Believed in India’s Destiny and was Ready To Fight For It

It was precisely this persona of Vajpayee -- one merged in Hindutva ideology yet seemingly not wholly willing to bow to it -- that won him admirers cutting across the political spectrum.

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee,
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India's peace visionary. Image: Flickr

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a man of moderation in a fraternity of jingoistic nationalists; a peace visionary in a region riven by religious animosity; and a man who believed in India’s destiny and was ready to fight for it.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (93), who died on Thursday, will go down in history as a person who tried to end years of hostility with Pakistan and put development on the front burner of the country’s political agenda. He was also the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full five-year term.

Even though he lived the last 13 years of his life in virtual isolation, dogged by debilitating illnesses and bedridden, he has left an enduring legacy for the nation and the region where he was much loved and respected across the political spectrum and national boundaries, including in Pakistan.

Vajpayee, former Indian Prime Minister
Vajpayee stunned the world by making India a declared nuclear state. Image: Wikimedia Commons

In the tumultuous period he presided over the destiny of the world’s largest democracy, Vajpayee stunned the world by making India a declared nuclear state and then almost went to war with Pakistan before making peace with it in the most dramatic fashion.
In the process, his popularity came to match that of Indira Gandhi, a woman he admired for her guts even as he hated her politics.

He also became the best-known national leader after Indira Gandhi and her father Jawaharlal Nehru.

After despairing for years that he would never become Prime Minister and was destined to remain an opposition leader all his life, he achieved his goal, but only for 13 days, from May 16-28, 1996, after his deputy, L.K. Advani, chose not to contest elections that year.
His second term came on March 19, 1998, and lasted 13 months, a period during which India stunned the world by undertaking a series of nuclear tests that invited global reproach.

Although his tenure again proved short-lived, his and his government’s enhanced stature following the world-defying blasts enabled him to return as Prime Minister for the third time on October 13, 1999, a tenure that lasted a full five-year term.

When finally he stepped down in May 2004, after an election that he was given to believe he would win, it marked the end of a long and eventful political career spanning six decades.

Vajpayee had gone into these elections riding a personality cult that projected him as a man who had brought glory to the nation in unprecedented ways. The BJP’s election strategy rested on seeking a renewed mandate over three broad pillars of achievement that the government claimed — political stability in spite of the pulls and pressures of running a multi-party coalition; a “shining” economy that saw a dizzying 10.4 percent growth in the last quarter of the previous year; and peace with Pakistan that changed the way the two countries looked at each other for over 50 years.

The results of the elections could not have come as a greater shock to a man who was hailed for his achievements and who was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 influential men of the decade.

Success didn’t come easily to the charismatic politician, who was born on Christmas Day in 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, into a family of moderate means. His father was a school teacher and Vajpayee would later recall his early brush with poverty.

He did his Masters in Political Science, studying at the Victoria College in Gwalior and at the DAV College in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, where he first contested, and lost, elections. He began his professional career as a journalist, working with Rashtradharma, a Hindi monthly, Panchjanya, a Hindi weekly, and two Hindi dailies, Swadesh and Veer Arjun. By then he had firmly embraced the ideals of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).
But even as he struggled to win electoral battles, his command over Hindi, the lingua franca of the North Indian masses, his conciliatory politics and his riveting oratory brought him into public limelight.

Also read: For Modi, Road To 2019 Will Be Steeper

His first entry into Parliament was in 1962 through the Rajya Sabha, the upper house. It was only in 1971 that he won a Lok Sabha election. He was elected to the lower house seven times and to the Rajya Sabha twice.

Vajpayee
Vajpayee spent months in prison when Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency rule in June 1975. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Vajpayee spent months in prison when Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency rule in June 1975 and put her political opponents in jail. When the Janata Party took office in 1977, dethroning the Congress for the first time, he became the foreign minister.

The lowest point in his career came when he lost the 1984 Lok Sabha polls, that too from his birthplace Gwalior, after Rajiv Gandhi won an overwhelming majority following his mother Indira Gandhi’s assassination. And the BJP he led ended up with just two seats in
the 545-member Lok Sabha, in what looked like the end of the road for the right-wing party.

In no time, Vajpayee was replaced and “eclipsed” by his long-time friend L.K. Advani.
Although they were the best of friends publicly, Vajpayee never fully agreed with Advani’s and the assorted Hindu nationalist groups’ strident advocacy of Hindutva, an ideology ranged against the idea of secular India.

Often described as the right man in the wrong party, there were also those who belittled him as a moderate “mask” to a hardline Hindu nationalist ideology. Often he found his convictions and value systems at odds with the party, but the bachelor-politician never went against it.

It was precisely this persona of Vajpayee — one merged in Hindutva ideology yet seemingly not wholly willing to bow to it — that won him admirers cutting across the political spectrum. It was this trait that made him the Prime Minister when the BJP’s allies concluded they needed a moderate to steer a hardliner, pro-Hindu party.

He brought into governance measures that created for India a distinct international status on the diplomatic and economic fronts. In his third prime ministerial stint, Vajpayee launched a widely acclaimed diplomatic initiative by starting a bus service between New Delhi and Pakistan’s Lahore city.

Its inaugural run in February 1999 carried Vajpayee and was welcomed on the border by his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. It was suspended only after the 2001 terror attack on the Indian Parliament that nearly led to a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

The freeze between the two countries, including an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation on the border for nearly a year, was finally cracked in the spring of 2003 when Vajpayee, while in Kashmir, extended a “hand of friendship” to Pakistan. That led to the historic summit in January 2004 with then President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad — a remarkable U-turn after the failed summit in Agra of 2001. Despite the two men being so far apart in every way, Musharraf developed a strong liking for the Indian leader.

His unfinished task, one that he would probably rue, would be the peace process with Pakistan that he had vowed to pursue to its logical conclusion and a resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

He was not known as “Atal-Ji”, a name that translates into firmness, for nothing. He could go against the grain of his party if he saw it deviate from its path. When Hindu hardliners celebrated the destruction of the 16th century Babri Mosque at Ayodhya, he was full of personal remorse for the apocalyptic action and called it — in a landmark interview to IANS — the “worst miscalculation” and a “misadventure”. He even despaired that “moderates have no place — who is going to listen to the voice of sanity?”

In his full five-year term, he successively carried forward India’s economic reforms programme with initiatives to improve infrastructure, including flagging off a massive national highway project that has become associated with his vision, went for massive privatisation of unviable state undertakings despite opposition from even within his own party.

While his personal image remained unsullied despite his long innings in the murky politics of this country, his judgment was found wanting when his government was rocked by an arms bribery scandal that sought to expose alleged payoffs to some senior members of his cabinet. His failure to speak up when members of his party and its sister organisations, who are accused of killing more than 1,000 Muslims in Gujarat, was questioned by the liberal fraternity who wondered aloud about his secular proclamations. He wanted then Chief Minister — now Prime Minister, Narendra Modi — to take responsibility for the riots and quit but was prevailed upon by others not to press his decision.

A day before his party lost power, Vajpayee was quoted as saying in a television interview that if and when he stepped down he would like to devote his time to writing and poetry. But fate ruled otherwise. The man who once rued that “I have waited too long to be Prime Minister” found his last days in a world far removed from the adulation and attention — though across the nation people prayed for his well-being — surrounded only by care-givers and close family whom he even failed to recognize. (IANS)