Anti-Sikh Riots: Sikhs protest outside Sonia Gandhi's residence over Sajjan Kumar's acquittal

New Delhi, May 2 (ANI): Sikhs staged protests outside the official 10, Janpath residence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday, forcing the authorities to deploy police personnel around the venue.

The protests were staged over the recent acquittal of Congressman Sajjan Kumar in a case related to the 1984 Sikh riots.

Major roads in Central Delhi have been closed to ensure that the protestors are not able to assemble in huge numbers outside the Congress President's residence.

Delhi Police has closed down key roads like Janpath, Man Singh Road, Krishna Menon Marg, Akbar Road, Motilal Nehru Road and Maulana Azad Road.

Sikh groups yesterday staged protests in Delhi's Subhash Nagar and Tilak Nagar areas today against Sajjan Kumar's acquittal.

Two metro stations in West Delhi were closed to commuters for some time yesterday to prevent any untoward incident after protestors stormed the Subhash Nagar station, climbing on to the tracks and metro coaches.

A Delhi Court had earlier on Tuesday acquitted Sajjan Kumar of all the charges in a case related to the killing of five men in a Delhi Cantonment colony during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that followed the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Five others named as accused with Sajjan Kumar were convicted, three of murder and rioting and two of rioting.

Kumar, a former Member of Parliament (MP) from outer Delhi, was facing trial along with five others-former MLA Mahender Yadav, Krishan Khokhar, former Councillor Balwan Khokhar, Captain Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal-for allegedly conspiring and inciting a mob against the Sikh community in Delhi Cantonment area during the riots that followed the October 31, 1984 assassination of Indira Gandhi.

Mahender Yadav and Krishan Khokhar have been acquitted of all charges except for the offence of rioting. But Balwan Khokhar, Captain Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal have been held guilty for rioting and murder.

The court ordered the arrest of Balwan Khokhar, Bhagmal and Girdhari Lal after the verdict, while the other two to be convicted were allowed to leave the court as the offence for which they have been held guilty was punishable with less than three years imprisonment.

Inside the court, so deep was the resentment over Kumar's acquittal that a shoe was thrown at District Judge J.R. Aryan after he pronounced his verdict. Angry over the verdict, All India Sikh Students Federation President Karnail Singh hurled a shoe towards the Judge. He was immediately detained by the police.

The case relates to the murder of five men-Kehar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Ranghuvender Singh, Narender Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh-in the Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1-2, 1984 during attacks on Sikh homes and businesses following the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

Complainant Jagdish Kaur is the widow of Kehar Singh and mother of Gurpreet. The other three victims were her cousins.

The CBI registered the case in 2005 following the recommendations of the Justice G T Nanavati Commission. (ANI)

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