Report on Need for Constitution of SIT for Investigating the Cases of 1984 Riots
On December 23, 2014, the Ministry of Home Affairs, government of India, appointed a committee to look into the grievances of various individuals and associations (names not listed) related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, with Justice G. P. Mathur (former Supreme Court judge) as its chairman.
Prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her security guards, both from the Sikh community, on October 31, 1984. This was followed by violent attacks on Sikhs and their properties in Delhi and other parts of India from October 31 to November 7, 1984. Many Sikhs were killed and injured, and their properties were looted on a large scale.
On April 26, 1985, the government of India appointed the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission of Inquiry (Justice Mishra was then the Chief Justice of India) to inquire into these incidents. The commission submitted its report in August 1986. This was followed by the constitution of three committees to investigate specific aspects of the 1984 riots.
On May 8, 200, the Ministry of Home Affairs appointed the Justice Nanavati Commission of Inquiry, with Justice G. T. Nanavati (former Supreme Court judge) as its chairman. The commission released its report on February 9, 2005.
The Justice G. P. Mathur committee was appointed to ascertain the need for constituting a special investigating team (SIT) to probe the 1984 riot cases, look into grievances related to the 1984 riots, oversee the payment of additional compensation to riot victims and determine whether riot victims require any other assistance. This report was submitted on January 22, 2015.
The Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission of Inquiry, which submitted its report in August 1986, mentions that 403 first information reports (FIRs) were lodged, 154 closure reports were filed and 240 chargesheets were submitted for incidents that occurred between October 31 and November 7, 1984.
The Justice Nanavati Commission of Inquiry, which released its report in February, 2005, noted that a total of 587 FIRs pertaining to the anti-Sikh riots were lodged, the reports of 241 cases were filed as ‘untraced’, 225 cases resulted in convictions, 253 cases resulted in acquittals, and 42 cases were pending trial.
The report states that in a large number of cases, deponents claim that the incidents lodged by them were not received by police officers on duty – even for murders and other heinous crimes. This was the case especially when the names of culprits included police officials and influential persons.
The report states that more than 2,733 people were killed in the riots.
On January 16, 2006, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order that sanctioned compensation payments to the victims of the 1984 riots and their families. The compensation amount was Rs. 3.5 lakh for deaths and Rs. 1.5 lakh for injuries. The families of riot victims who migrated to Punjab from other riot-affected states and are still living there would each be paid a rehabilitation grant of Rs. 2 lakhs.
The 2006 order of the Ministry of Home Affairs also stipulates that state governments must grant monthly pensions of Rs 25,000 to all widows and elderly parents of those who were killed in the 1984 riots. The wives of those who suffered disability of 70 per cent of more and those who have been missing since 1984 may also be provided a pension of Rs. 25,000 per month.
The committee states that the cases of rioting in Delhi in October and November 1984 should be properly investigated. After collecting evidence, those found to have committed criminal offences should be prosecuted. An SIT should be constituted for this purpose.
The committee recommends that a scheme should be introduced to provide or upgrade the skills of family members of the 1984 riot victims, so that they can obtain employment or start their own small-scale industry or trade.
Focus and Factoids by Aaliya Sayed.
Justice G. P. Mathur Committee
Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India
22 Jan, 2015