Amnesty says progress of SIT in anti-Sikh riots cases slow

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Chandigarh, Dec 5 (IANS) Observing that the delivery of justice to victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots had been delayed for the past 32 years, an Amnesty International official on Monday said the SIT formed by the Centre last year has made “slow progress”.

“The Special Investigation Team (SIT) has the authority to file charges against the accused where there is sufficient evidence available. It was originally given six months to complete this exercise, but received extensions in August 2015 and August 2016. It is now slated to complete its investigation in February 2017, two years after it was set up,” Sanam Sutirath Wazir, campaigner at Amnesty International India, said.

“The SIT must not waste the opportunity to deliver justice to the massacre. The SIT raised hopes among victims and survivors that they would finally get justice. But the SIT’s apparent lack of transparency so far has been disturbing,” Wazir told media here.

The riots led to killing of nearly 3,000 Sikh men, women and children, mainly in Delhi, over four days following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.

“The Delhi Police closed investigations into hundreds of cases, citing lack of evidence. The SIT constituted in January 2015 to re-investigate the riots cases has made slow progress. In November, it had identified 58 cases for reinvestigation,” he said.

Titled ’32 years and waiting: An era of injustice for the 1984 Sikh massacre’, the campaign digest of Amnesty highlights the “cover-up that followed the massacre and the status of various official investigations over the last 32 years”.

The digest also carries personal accounts of survivors.

In June 2016, Amnesty International India and a range of prominent activists, journalists, lawyers and political leaders made a series of recommendations related to effective investigation, comprehensive reparations and legal reforms, to be submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs, he said.

–IANS

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