Sajjan Kumar was in the Congress for over four decades. (File photo)
Sajjan Kumar, who has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, has surrendered in a Delhi court today. The police will take him to the Mandoli jail in east Delhi. The former Congress leader was convicted in the killing of five members of a family in Raj Nagar and setting a gurdwara on fire on November 1, 1984 by the Delhi High Court. He was the parliamentarian of that area at the time.
The court had cancelled an earlier court order acquitting him of charges in what the judges called "genocide". "It is important to assure the victims that despite the challenges truth will prevail," the court had said.
He has approached the Supreme Court challenging his conviction and the life term.
Soon after the verdict on December 17, the 73-year-old had said he has three children and eight grandchildren and needed time to settle matters related to his property. He requested for one more month to surrender instead of the December 31 deadline, but his plea was turned down by the court.
Sajjan Kumar was in the Congress for over four decades. In the last few years, he had been sidelined by the party over allegations that he had led blood-thirsty mobs targeting Sikhs in Delhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984. At least 3,000 people were killed in the riots over the next four days.
While several witnesses and survivors gave accounts of Congress leaders inciting and leading mobs on the streets of Delhi, Sajjan Kumar is the first top leader of the party to be convicted. The verdict had come out on a day when the Congress took charge in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh after its election victories. The three chief ministers were sworn in in the shadow of protests over senior leder Kamal Nath's alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.