New Delhi : The police force in Delhi succumbed to the anti-Sikh sentiments in 1984, thus abetting rioting and arson, a sting operation by news portal Cobrapost revealed Tuesday.
The then government did not allow the police to act while creating an impression that the police were not performing their duty, the sting operation titled “Chapter 84” added.
“The government’s intention appeared to be that the Sikhs should get some punishment,” said Shoorveer Singh Tyagi, then police station house officer (SHO) at Kalyanpuri, whom Cobrapost interviewed.
“Messages were broadcast directing police to not take action against rioters who were shouting slogans of ‘Indira Gandhi zindabad”,” Rohtas Singh, SHO at Delhi Cantonment, told Cobrapost in an interview.
Throwing light on the complicity of the state in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the report added that police logbooks were conveniently changed to eliminate evidence of inaction by senior police officials.
The police did not allow the victims of rioting to file first information reports (FIRs or police complaints) or when they filed FIRs, they clubbed many cases of murder and arson that took place in different places under one FIR, according to Cobrapost.
Police officers were also guilty of dumping bodies of victims somewhere else to minimise riot-related crimes near their police stations, Cobrapost claimed.
“The corpses lying near Delhi Cantonment were dumped off at Rajinder Nagar,” revealed Amreek Singh Bhullar, SHO at Patel Nagar, in the sting.
The revelation is a result of an investigation by the news portal to expose the complicity of Delhi Police officers in the anti-Sikh riots.
It added that senior police officers did not allow their subordinates to open fire on rioters, and that even the fire brigade refused to move to areas where cases of arson were reported.
Cobrapost interviewed many police officers and also S.C. Tandon, who then headed Delhi Police, and Gautam Kaul, the then additional commissioner of police.
Reacting to the sting, Manoj Mitta, journalist and author of the book “The Fiction of Fact Finding”, said these may not be dramatic new revelations but have added great importance to available documentation of the 1984 riots.
Gautam Navlakha, political analyst, said the sting underlined that the lack of justice has been the most important failure of our system, while also blaming the media for it.
“The media of the time created a climate of impunity for rioteers,” he said.