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Gateway to Sikhism

Kusum Lata Mittal Report

C H A P T E R - 9

DCP (Crime & Railways) : Shri R.C. Kohli
ACP (Railways) : Shri Darshan Kumar
ACP (Crime) : Shri Kewal Krishan
SHO Police Station : Inspector Tarsem Pal Sharma
Delhi Main Railway Station
SHO P.S. New Delhi : Inspector Sadhu Singh
Railway Station

9.1. The Delhi Railway Police under the charge of a Deputy Commissioner of Police functions as part of the local set-up of the Union Territory of Delhi. In November, 1984, there were two Police Stations – the Delhi Main and New Delhi Railway Station. Under the New Delhi Railway Station, there were two Police Posts, viz., Nizamuddin and Kishanganj. Similarly ,under the Delhi Main there were Police Posts at Subzi Mandi, Sarai Rohilla and Shahdara. All these were supervised by an Assistant Commissioner of Police and the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime & Railways).

9.2. The railway authorities reported 46 unauthorized stoppages of trains during the riots at various places and killing of about 160 Sikh passengers who were traveling to and from Delhi on 1st and 2nd November, 1984. These incidents have been clearly brought out in D.O. letter No. 30/SIB(I) HQ/84 dated 7.12.1984 from Shri S.P. Banerjee, Chief Security Officer, Northern Railway, New Delhi, addressed to Shri S.S. Jog , the then Commissioner of Police, and d.o. letter No. SR/HC/Miscold/85 dated 23rd/31st December, 1985 from Shri Prakash Bhalla, General manager, Northern Railways to Shri R.L. Gupta, Secretary of the Misra Commission.

9.3. The Railway Stations which were seriously affected were Tughlakabad, Nangloi and Daya Basti within the jurisdiction of New Delhi Railway Police Station, besides Palam, Bijwasan, Cantonment and Yamuna Bridge within the jurisdiction of Delhi Main Police Station. The events at these Railway Stations are being briefly discussed as under :-


9.4. The first indication that trouble had started at the Railway Stations was evident from a message which was received in the Police Control Room at 1025 hrs on 1.11.84 to the effect that the Frontier Mail had been stopped at Tughlakabad by a mob which was searching for Sikh passengers and assaulting them. Similar entries are also found in the log of DCP(C&R) at 10.27 hrs and10.57 hrs. PCR asked one of the Wireless Control Vans to verify this report. After verification, PCR flashed collective signal at 10.54 hrs to all police officers to the effect that ‘Sikh Passengers were being taken down from the Frontier Mail at Tughlakabad and were being assaulted.’

9.5. These messages were sufficient to have woken up the entire Delhi Railway Police from DCP downward. Ordinarily , they should have initiated immediate precautionary measures so as to ensure a safe passage of trains at all stations/places within the Union Territory of Delhi. However, this was not to be. At Tughlakabad Station itself on 1.11.1984 after the Frontier Mail, 25 Down Deluxe was stopped. This was followed by 149 Down Qutab Express at 11.30 hrs; 23 Down Bombay –Ferozepur Janta Express at 12.40 hrs; 382 up at 13.35 hrs; 131 Down Cochin Nizammudin Express at 1700 hrs; 359 and363 Down; 364 up; 378 Up; 182 Up Sarvodaya Express at 20.35 hrs; 3 Down Frontier Mail at 20.42 hrs. The mob also damaged the starter signals at Tughlakabad at about 16.00 hrs. Therefore, mail trains which normally did not halt here had to stop at Tughlakabad. The trains which were stopped were 131 Down etc. On 2.11.1984, 6 Up Punjab Mail which arrived at 09.40 hrs was stopped followed by 25 Down Deluxe; 151 Down Rajdhani at 10.45 hrs. It is after all these stoppages and killing of about 74 Sikhs passengers at Tughlakabad alone that Railway Authorities cancelled the trains. The army then took over the Tughlakabad Railway Station, its installations and the Railway Colony nearby where there had been trouble.

9.6. The Delhi Railway Police had full knowledge of all these incidents. The DCP in his report vide his letter No. 28284 /Estt. Cr. Dated 18.12.84 had indicated that the rioters/mobs who had gathered at Railway Stations had already dispersed except on one occasion when re-enforcements were rushed and firing was resorted to for controlling the incident. This statement is incorrect and at variance with the report of the SHO and the facts recorded in the FIRs . In his report, SHO NDLS, in reply to a TP message dated 26.11.84 clearly states in respect of FIR No. 355 that “ on receiving information, SI Ajit Parshad charge PP H.N.Z.M. reached the spot. SHO PS NDLS, ACP Railways, DCP(C&R) also reached the spot along with supplement force and rescued the train from being burnt”. In respect of FIR 357 dated 2.11.84 he says “SI Ajit Parshad along with staff reached the spot and tried his best to control the mob. On receipt of this information, the undersigned, CP Railways, DCP(C&R) along with adequates force reached the spot and by using the force the mob was dispersed.” As a matter of fact, there is evidence on record to show that DCP(South) had also reached the station. None seem to have acted effectively. Both these FIRs related to Tughlakabad . Similarly, the SHO has shown the presence of the police at Daya Basti in FIR 354 dated 1.11.84 and Nangloi in FIR 66 dated2.11.84. ACP Shri Kewal Krishan of Crime Branch who was pressed into service for Tughlakabad on 2.11.84 and ---- on 1st November, 1984 has also described the stoppage of two trains 25 Down and 151 Rajdhani at Tughlakabad although FIR ----tions only 25 Down. His report gives the impression that even in this solitary case when the police resorted to firing, it was in the ‘air’, and there were no casualties in police firing although 18 rounds were fired by the Delhi Police besides the firing done by RPF. The version of the Delhi Railway Police vide report dated 11.3.85 of Kewal Krishan , ACP, is that they first resorted to firing and the RPF opened fire subsequently. This appears to be incorrect because the IG-cum-Chief Security Officer has given a full account of the incidents in his d.o. letter No. 30/SIB(I)HQ/84 dated 7.12.84 to Shri S.S.Jog, the then Commissioner of Police, Delhi . According to him, the RPF opened fire when the mob was about to attack the RPF Post where some Sikhs had taken shelter and on hearing these shots the Delhi Railway Police also opened fire. He mentioned the incidents at some length and also the fact that Sheri Madhu Dandavate, M.P., was traveling in the train – 151 Down Rajdhani which also arrived when 25 Down was still on the platform, a fact which has been conveniently omitted in the FIR recorded by SHO New Delhi Railway Station.

9.7. As far as the attitude of the police is concerned, this has been graphically described by Prof. Madhu Dandavate (2641) before the Misra Commission . He was also cross-examined by the Delhi Administration before the Misra Commission. A few relevant passages from this affidavit and evidence are reproduced below :

(a) “ I found two Sikhs killed and thrown on the platform and then their dead bodies were set on fire on the platform. The police standing on the platform made no efforts to prevent either the killings or the burning of Sikhs”.

In his cross-examination, he has stated as follows :

(b) “ I must have seen 35-40 policemen at the railway station. They were standing at the foot of the over bridge at the railway station. When I saw that the trouble had already started and I apprehended further trouble ahead, I approached the police………… Ultimately some protection was given. The persons I had talked l to appeared to be the persons in charge of the police team. I do not know his name. He was, however, in a position to respond and provide a police team immediately.”

He has described the attitude of the Delhi Police which was incomplete contrast with the attitude of the police at Mathura :-

“ At mathura when the train stopped, commandos and police party were already ready for action on the platform. Therefore, there was not much of influx into the train. At Tughlakabad, however, the position was different as already mentioned.”

9.8. The presence of Prof. Madhu Dandavate , MP and former Railway Minister, was perhaps too inconvenient for the Delhi Police and, therefore, in their various reports they have invariably avoided mentioning his name and presence. Smt. Darshan Kaur (267) and Smt. Gurpreet Kaur (2409) have also given affidavits regarding the incidents at Tughlakabad. The Misra Commission examined Shri Suresh Gupta on 29.1.1986. He was traveling in the same train as Madhu Dandavate, MP, and had informed Smt. Gurpreet Kaur about her brother S. Surjit Singh who was killed during the riots at the Station. From these affidavits and statements it appears that the police was passive and not inclined to take effective action against the miscreants. They, in fact, miserably failed to discharge their duty.

9.9. Over 15 trains were stopped at Tughlakabad on 1st and 2nd November, 1984 and passengers of the various trains were killed or assaulted. Besides this, 27 Sikhs were killed in the Railway Colony at Tughlakabad in the night between 1stand 2nd November, 1984. Strangely, only two FIRs were recorded by the Delhi Police. FIRs have not been recorded for each of the separate incidents which took place at Tughlakabad. This was perhaps done to minimize the incidents and was clearly irregular , illegal and amounts to a deliberate attempt to conceal the magnitude of the crime committed.

9.10. From the morning of 1st November, 1984 till the afternoon of 2nd November, 1984, a large number of trains were stopped at Tughlakabad one after the other and about 74 passengers lost their lives due to inefficiency and callousness of the Delhi Railway Police. DCP (C&R) has a lot of explaining to do as to why this was allowed to happen specially as he had been warned as soon as the first train was stopped at Tughlakabad in the morning of 1st November, 1984.


9.11. Violence also occurred at Daya Basti and Nangloi Railway Stations on 1st and 2nd November, 1984 . At Rampura near Daya Basti, Janta Express was detained on 1.11.1984 in connection with which FIR No. 354 was registered at 2.45. PM. According to the police, on receiving information from ASM, Daya Basti that a mob had stopped Ferozepur –Bombay Janta Express, ASI Hukam Singh of Police Post Kishan Ganj went to the scene of incident and found the mob of about 1000 to 1500. The mob dispersed on seeing the police and four bodies were found burning. The fire was extinguished and the train moved on. Later, one more body was found and thus a total of 5 persons are stated to have died. The police does not seem to have taken any effective action against the mob and merely collected the dead bodies.

9.12. At Nangloi on 2.11.1984, 60 Down Abha Express was stopped at 0738 hrs and attacked by a mob. Another express train 186 Down Bhiwani Express was stopped at 0845 hrs and in these two stoppages the mob killed about 20 Sikhs. In connection with both these incidents FIR 356 was registered. It seems that while the Railway Police did not reach Nangloi, SHO Nangloi PS reached the spot and dispersed the mob.

9.13. In the above incidents at Tughlakabad, Daya Basti and Nangloi as per the FIRs and, the report of the SHO NLD, the Police was present but strangely not a single culprit was arrested or injured or killed in the firing. The statement of the DCP that the police only reached after the mob had dispersed, is not borne out by FIRs 354-357 or from the deployment charts which show the presence of police at Tughlakabad both on 1st and 2nd November, 1984 and also at Nangloi and Daya Basti. Besides, according to Shri Banerjee, IG-cum-Chief Security Officer, when 182 Up Sarvodaya Express arrived at 20.35 hrs at Tughlakabad on 1.11.84 , ACP with two Sis was present in the office of C.C., RPF Tughlakabad when two Sikh passengers were killed and set on fire. He ( the ACP) came out on the platform and returned back. Apparently, the ACP did not consider it proper to take any action for reasons best known to him and even the bodies remained lying in the yard up to 0500 hrs on 2.11.84. DCP’s statement that the police only reached after the incidents had occurred is an effort to cover up the gross and deliberates inaction of the Delhi Railway Police. One hardly expects an officer of his rank and seniority to make such incorrect statements which are falsified by official records and reports of his own subordinates. More so when he refers to them as ‘correct’ accounts of the incidents.

9.14. The incidents pertaining to the Railway Stations in the jurisdiction of Delhi Main Railway Police Station were as follows:-


9.15. Incidents took place at this Railway Station on 1st November, 1984 when203 Up arrived at the Station and the mob attacked Sikh passengers and burnt them. According to the railway authorities since no police was available, the memo was sent by S.S., Palam to the civil police through Shri Chand, porter, but the civil police refused to accept the memo. The flying squad could not contacted as the phone was not functioning. Then after Shri N.L. Khanna, S.S. Palam issued another memo intimating that about 7 half-burnt bodies were lying and requested GRP Sarai Rohilla for their removal and disposal. On 2nd November, 1984 another memo was sent by the railways to GRP Sarai Rohilla about two more bodies having been noticed by the public in the yard. Only one body was removed by the GRP and regarding the other they advised the railway authorities to approach Delhi Cantt. Police Station. Finally all these bodies were removed but the railway authorities were not aware of when and by whom they were finally removed. The SHO Delhi Main on the other hand has described the events as follows :-

“ On 1.11.84 at 12.30 hrs a memo was received at PP Sarai Rohilla the contents of which were :

‘ Three men killed by public at Bijwasan in 203 UP. Dead body lying at Station. Please attend and do needful.’

On this SI Swaran Singh got the case registered and rushed to the spot along with the staff. During the course of investigation information was received that seven more dead bodies thrown from the same train i.e. 203 Up Ahmedabad Express and were lying at Palam Railway Station. I.O. and SHO rushed to the spot and needful was done. However, no mob could be seen at both these places.”

9.16. It will be seen from the above that the versions of the railways and the Delhi Police are at variance with one another. The fact, however, remains that 203 UP was stopped both at Palam and Bijwasan and passengers were pulled out and killed. These incidents occurred even after the general alert by the PCR about attacks on trains. Apparently, since the train was the same, the Delhi Railway Police only registered one case viz. FIR 483.


9.17. At this station 32 Down was detained and on receipt of a memo at1315 hrs on 2.11.84 , one Sub Inspector was detailed from the Railway Police. Four Sikhs were found dead and two injured who later died. In this incident FIR 484 was registered at 15.05 hrs. The actual number of killings was more as some bodies were lying outside the train at Yamuna Bridge as per message in wireless log book of PCR.


9.18. On 2.11.1984 at 11.00 hrs, a memo was sent by SS Delhi Cantt. Railway Station to SHO Delhi Main that one person was lying dead on platform No. 1 at Delhi Cantt. Yard. On this memo, FIR 485 was registered at 1545 hrs. The report of the SHO dated 28.3.85 mentions the total of 8 bodies. Perhaps bodies recovered from Palam and other trains have been included.

9.19. Besides these incidents, dead bodies were recovered at the Railway Station from 204 Down on 1.11.84 and 502 Down Pink City, 2 RD from Gurgaon and 32 Down on 2.11.84.

9.20. According to the SHO, the police only arrived after the incidents had taken place and after the crowd had already dispersed. This SHO also has combined incidents at various places into FIRs 483, 484 and 485. About 36 bodies were picked up at various places from 1st to 3rdNovember, 1984. The worst affected being Palam.

9.21. From a perusal of the available records, reports and statements , it seems apparent that DCP (Railway) and his subordinates completely lacked the will to come to grips with the situation. The first signal that trouble was brewing came on the morning of 1st November, 1984 when the Frontier mail was held up at 0950 hrs at Tughlakabad and later trains were held up at Tughlakabad till the afternoon of 2nd November, 1984 and the police apparently remained silent spectators to the gruesome crimes which were committed.

9.22. The plea that there was not adequate staff does not bold water because even the existing staff does not appear to have been properly utilized. At New Delhi Railway Station, one SHO, 6 Sis, 9 ASIs, 15Head Constables and 57 Constables were available. However, the deployment chart shows that only 7 Sis, 5 ASIs 7 Head Constables and 24 Constables were put on law and order duty. This means nearly 50 per cent of the staff was not deployed on field duty even when the situation was critical. Similarly, against available strength at Delhi Main of 10 Sis, 4 ASIs, 21 Head Constables and 91 Constables, only 6 Sis, 4 ASIs, 14 Head Constables and 43 Constables were put on law and order duty. One would have expected that if trouble was anticipated other staff would also have been withdrawn from miscellaneous duties and put on law and order duties. Even the outside force which reported for duty at these two Railway Stations does not seem to have been properly briefed or effectively utilized. The police force was, therefore , a silent spectator and allowed the mobs to roam around unhindered on the Railway Stations, hold up trains and kill Sikh passengers. Prof. Madhu Dandawate, MP’s affidavit gives a clear picture of the attitude of the police in no uncertain terms. He clearly brings home the fact that the police did not act as a disciplined force meant to preserve law and order. The officers are, therefore, clearly responsible for dereliction of duty.

9.23. The police also made every effort to minimize the crime as they did not accept memos sent by the Railway Authorities, combined a large number of incidents into one FIR and omitted recording FIRs in respect of some of the incidents. For instance, at Tughlakabad where so many trains were stopped and passengers killed and burnt only two FIRs have been recorded. Not a single person was arrested, no tear-gas was used to disperse the mobs and even when the police resorted to firing after the RPF had opened fire no one was hurt or injured is this firing. This clearly shows that the police was not serious about discharging their duty.

9.24. The two ACPs S/Shri Darshan Kumar and Kewal Krishan who were present at Tughlakabad on 1st and 2nd November, 1984 respectively, did precious little to control the situation. As far as the DCP (Railways) is concerned, Shri Kohli failed to discharge his duties as DCP(Railways) and failed to provide the necessary leadership and guidance to his subordinates. He literally failed to rise to the occasion and has given a very poor account of himself as a senior police officer. In spite of a clear message on 1.11.84 at 10.27 AM regarding trouble at Okhla and Tughlakabad, he took no effective steps to control the situation even at Tughlakabad which was the scene of repeated killings. He has tried to make out that mob disappeared when police reached trouble spots when the facts are otherwise even in police records e.g. FIR 355 and 357 discussed earlier.

9.25. It is clear from the records that Shri Darshan Kumar ACP(Railways) was present at Tughlakabad Railway Station in the evening of 1.11.84 and even when he saw the killings taking place in his presence he took no action. He, therefore, failed to discharge his duties as ACP(Railways). It is, however, understood that he has since retired from service and, therefore, no specific recommendation is being made regarding him.

9.26. From the report of Shri Kewal Krishan dated 11.3.85, it is clear that he was pressed into service by DCP on 2.11.84 at about 10.30 AM. He become functional only at about 11.50 AM when he reached Tughlakabad Railway Station and firing was resorted to both by the RPF and the Delhi Police. By the time Shri Kewal Krishan was pressed into service, most of the incidents at the Railway Stations and in the trains were already over and the Railways had decided to stop further movement of trains.

9.27. DCP(Railways) ‘s statement/report dated 18.12.84 that he pressed the Crime Branch staff because of shortage of manpower is somewhat misleading because he did not press the staff into serve on the 1st November but on the 2nd November by which time the damage had already been done. Further it is also clear that the police opened fire only in the ‘air’ and this did not act as a deterrent to the rioters. The DCP(Railways) has also tried to minimize the number of incidents of rioting and holding up of trains because he merely mentions 7 incidents of rioting, holding up trains and gatherings of persons at various Railway installations during the riots. This is an under-statement because the picture which emerges from the D.O. letter No. 30/SIB(I)/HS/84 dated 7.12.84 from IS-cum-Chief Security Officer, Northern Railways, addressed to the then Police Commissioner Shri S.S.Jog, is quite different, DCP (Crime and Railways ) has obviously tried to minimize the incidents and killings in an attempt to cover up the lapses of the police and the seriousness of the situation. There was, in fact, total failure on the part of the Railway Police to control the situation and discharge their duties. It is under stood that Shri Kewal Krishan has also since retired from service and, therefore, it is not proposed to recommend any action for his failure. In any case he was pressed into service only on the 2nd November, 1984 by which time most of the damage had already been done.


9.28. In the light of the above, it is necessary that suitable disciplinary action should be taken against DCP(Railways) as well as the two SHOs S/Shri T.P. Sharma and Sadhu Singh for their negligence and dereliction of duty and failure to maintain law and order at the Railway Stations which resulted in avoidable loss of life and property.

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