US Sikhs dismayed at Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal

Washington, May 1 (IANS) Sikh leaders in the US have expressed their “dismay and shock” at Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal by a Delhi court in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

“It is shocking to see Sajjan Kumar being acquitted by the court. This certainly sends a wrong message that the legal system in India is not just,” said Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE).

“Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal should be a matter of concern for all Indians, not just Sikhs,” he said.

He added: “India must rise to this challenge while it is trying to move forward to improve its own governance. History will judge its leaders harshly if they do not act to correct the wrongs.”

Jasbir Singh Kang, a California Sikh leader and founding member of the Punjabi American Heritage Society, said that the decision “was not about one person (Sajjan Kumar), but rather about the justice process of largest democracy of world”.

“Where is the conscience of the average Indian, why are they putting up with this kind of injustice?” he asked, and added that “29 years have passed by and still no justice in sight for thousands of victims”.

North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) chairman Dalwinder Singh Dhoot called the acquittal “a slap on the Indian judicial system. This verdict had dashed hopes of people who waited for nearly three decades for justice”.

NAPA spokesperson Satnam Singh Chahal said that “the case has not reached its logical conclusion due to a shoddy probe by the investigators”, and hoped that the Supreme Court would take cognizance and order reinvestigation.

Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal Tuesday came almost three decades after an estimated 3,000 Sikhs were killed in three days of riots in India’s capital and elsewhere after the Oct 31, 1984, assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

–Indo-Asian News Service

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