Verdict in Sikh riots gives hope to Kandhamal survivors

Light of truth

Life term awarded to a top political leader in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case gives hope to victims of communal violence awaiting justice in India, say activists working among the survivors of the Odisha’s anti-Christian violence.

The verdict against Sajjan Kumar is a big day in the history of minority rights struggle in India, Tehmina Arora, a legal consultant for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International, told Matters India on December 18, a day after the Delhi High Court sentenced the Congress leader to life for his role in the mass killing of Sikhs in 1984.

The court overturned his acquittal by a lower court in 2013 and described the massacre as a crime against humanity. It directed Kumar to surrender by December 31. More than 2,700 Sikhs were killed in the week following the assassination of the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by Sikh guards on October 31, 1984.

The verdict “gives us hope that in near future the hate criminals of the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid, 2002 Gujarat genocide, Kandhamal violence in 2008, and other pogroms and genocides will be punished,” said Arora, a member of the Christian Legal Association who was given “Champion of Human Rights” award from the Minority Com-mission of the Delhi government on the same day of the verdict.

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