Misra Commission Report
DELHI CHAPTER - 2
(C) CONSIDERATION OF AFFIDAVITS
Brief reference may be made to some of the affidavits relating to incidents of damage to Gurudwaras, killing, arson, looting and assault, and allegations of miscellaneous nature. The Commission had indicated on more than one occasion during the proceedings to counsel and parties that the manner of appreciating evidence collected by it would not be as done in a criminal trial and every detail in every affidavit was not to be taken into account to find out whether there was any contradiction and on that account to discard affidavits. The Commission was interested in collecting evidence to ascertain the pattern of the occurrences and for that purpose to have a general view of acceptable material on record. It is proposed to refer to some of the affidavits relating to the incidents for the aforesaid purpose.
S. Amrik Singh (no. 2301) was living in West Patel Nagar (Central Distt.). In his affidavit he indicated :
After that the mob proceeded to Gurudwara and they threw the holy book outside, kicked and urinated upon these books. The uprooted Nishan Saheb (religious flag of Sikhs) and looted the money-chest.
It was an incident of November 1, 1984. S. Angad Singh (no. 2675) of Rohtak Road (North Delhi) had also referred to an incident of November 1, 1984, with reference to the Gurudwara of his locality. He has stated :
We saw that some persons were ransacking the Gurudwara and some were setting it on fire. About 8-9 individuals went to save the Gurudwara. When we reached there we saw that the crowd numbered about 700/800 and before we reached the Gurudwara, they had already set the Guru Granth Sahib and the Palki Sahib on fire. And they had ransacked the Gurudwara also.
S. Ajit Singh (no. 2599) residing at Geeta Colony of Krishna Nagar Police Station (East Distt.) has referred to the Derababa Jai Singh Gurudwara. According to him the mob burnt the Gurudwara as a result of which the entire place was damaged. S. Charanjit Singh (no.2282) was residing in Lajpat Nagar (South Distt.). On November 1, 1984, according to him, at about 10 a.m. a violent mob came to the Gurudwara from the Ring Road side. I was at home and was told all about it by Sewadar Mehel Singh who alongwith his family and the Granthi S. Tarsem Singh was residing in the rooms of the Gurudwara. There was noise outside the gurudwara . Hearing this noise the Sewadar and the Granthi came out but they were requested by the police to go inside and were told that the police would protect the Gurudwara as also them. When they went inside their rooms the mob comprising of 1200 to 1500 came near and started throwing stones. The mob was armed with petrol cans, sariyas, lathis etc. They collected the durries and the mob put them on fire. They went upstairs in the main hall and broke the glass door. They also burnt the holy books, Guru Granth Sahib and threw some of them. They closed the door of the room of the Sewadar and put it on fire. He was saved by the Hindu neighbours and shopkeepers. He has further stated :
They mob went towards the Gurudwara II which is also managed by the same Committee. The mob also tried to burn it but it was saved by the Hindu neighbours who have a common wall with the Gurudwara.
In the affidavit of S. Gurcharan Singh (no. 2274), living in Punjabi Bagh area (West Distt.) it has been stated :
After sometime, two buses, 2 trucks and one matador stopped in front of the Gurudwara. Matador came inside and sacks of sugar, wheat and the tins of ghee etc. were loaded in it. In one truck 400-500 beddings and in the other cots, one locker containing cash (which could not be broken), utensils, four golden chanwars, five silver chanwars and other articles were loaded. All these people had come by the aforesaid vehicles. Then they started setting the Gurudwara on fire. To save our lives, we jumped from the back side over a dispensary and ran for our lives.
These representative affidavits indicate the manner in which the Gurudwaras were attacked. The fact that local Hindus protected the Sikh residents as also their Gurudwaras from the onslaught of the riotous mobs in some areas is indicative of the fact that the Hindus as such were not out to damage properties or make an attack on the lives of the Sikhs. It would, therefore, not be correct to say that Hindus as a community carried the attack against the Sikhs, their properties and their places of worship. Many Hindus, as found by the Commission elsewhere, extended every possible help, even at considerable risk to themselves, to protect the Sikh interest. It is, however, a fact that people who constitute the anti-social element among the Hindus as also some other communities other than Sikhs had participated in the riots. From the manner of operations carried in the Gurudwaras it is patent that the real eye was on the property available to be taken away from the Gurudwaras and simultaneously an attempt was made to damage the Gurudwaras after defiling the sacred books within them.
Coming to incidents of killing, reference may be made to a few of the sample affidavits placed before the Commission. In the affidavit of Balwinder Singh (no. 2331), resident of Basti Sarai Rohilla within North Delhi, he has said :
Almost all the Sikhs abandoned the Gurudwara but my aforesaid son was on the roof of the Gurudwara. Then I saw two Hindus who went to my son and one of them was Sahab Singh, resident of House no. C/3, Moti Bagh, Sarai Rohilla, Delhi. They told my son within my hearing that they were police officials and they caught hold my son from his hair and then threw him down from the roof. Then both of them came down and Sahab Singh struck iron rod twice in the head of my son. Many Hindus were present there. My son fell down. Then they sprinkled kerosene oil on my son and set him on fire. Sahab Singh was the person who did all this in my presence
The young man threw away his burning clothes and started running. He was hospitalised where he succumbed to the burns on November 2, 1984. It may be pointed out that in this affidavit reference to firing by the jawans of the RPF has been made. According to the deponent, in an unprovoked way the firing started and continued until the rioters had entered into the Gurudwara. The deponent appeared before the Commission as a witness and has supported the same story.
Affidavit of Smt. Prakash Kaur, residing in the Slum Tenement of Garhi (no. 2340) narrates the killing operations thus :
On 2-11-1984 at about 4 p.m. about 200 to 300 non-Sikh mob came to kill me and my family members and attacked us. Door of my house was broken. At that time my sons Bakshish Singh (28) and Arjan singh (18) and one Rajinder Singh alias Gudu (28) were taken out from our house no. 192 Block 3, Trilokpuri. My husband was also taken out by the mob from the said quarter no. 192 where they were hiding for safety, by breaking open the door of the quarter. They started beating my sons and husband mercilessly with iron rods and lathies. My son Arjan Singh and Rajinder Singh alias Gudu were killed on the spot by one Rama, driver, living in second street from my house in block no. 30, . Bakshish Singh tried of save himself and thus run away. He was injured by stones. He fell down, but he again got up and started running; then he entered into one house in the area He went up the roof of that house. The above mentioned assailants followed him and then threw him down from the roof and then they put kerosene on him while he was alive and burnt him alive. My husband Gurbachan Singh was severely beaten and he was thrown in the fire, but some persons save his (sic) life.
Yet another incident of killing is available from the affidavit of Smt. Manmohini Kaur of Mahavir Enclave, Palam Road (no. 2378). It says :
Hardly had we come out of our house that the mob attacked our house. They surrounded my husband and his two younger brothers and dragged them away. When my father-in-law tried to bolt the door from inside, then I was inside alongwith my younger son. They forcibly opened the door and the man who came first near my father-in-law gave a blow with his sword on my father-in-law's head. My father-in-law asked me to go away with my younger son. I pleaded with that assailant to kill me also. That assailant and some other persons took my father-in-law on the back lane where my husband and his two younger brothers had been dragged away. I do not know anybody from the mob because all of them were outsiders. The assailants remained standing there until the victims fell after getting grievously injured. I went to the place where they were beaten. They were asking for water. I ran to my house to fetch water but these persons had taken away the lever of our hand pump. I begged my neighbours for water. My husband, one of his brothers and my father-in-law died then and there.
One more instance of killing is very pathetically described in the affidavit of Smt. Padmi Kaur (no. 2497), living in Sultan Puri area. The incident also took place on November 1, 1984, and she narrates :
After some time the mob arrived, broke open our door and came inside. They caught hold of my daughter Maina Kaur forcibly and started tearing her clothes. In her self-defence my daughter also tore their clothes and also hit them. They tried to criminally assault my daughter. My husband begged them to let her go. The mob said that they would kill him Koyi bhi Sikh ka bacha nahin bachega (No Sikh son would be spared). They broke the hands and feet of my daughter and kidnapped here. They confined her in their home for three days. I know some of the persons in the mob. Their names are as under :
Ganpat, Hari Om (brother of Gupta), Brahamanand Gupta and Jai Bhagwan both reside in A-4 . Gupta has a kerosene oil depot, Romesh of B-2 and Udal resides in A-4 whose house is near the hotel, Ramu known as Bakri Wala, Mohan who has a cow. Now my daughter Maina Kaur has fallen ill and has become like a mad girl.
After this the mob attacked my husband Charan singh, son Ashok Singh, neighbour Balwinder Singh, brothers Inder Singh and Dalip Singh, nephew Bhajan Singh, brothers-in-law Prem Singh and Dharam Singh and Dharam Singh's son Anil Singh. The mob used to hit them on heads with lathis and set them on fire after pouring kerosene oil over them. They had some kind of powder with them which caught fire when thrown on an object. All of them died there.
Another description of killing is available in the affidavit of Amrit Kaur (no. 2630), resident of Mangolpuri area where the incident took place on November 3,1984. She states :
On 3rd November, at 4 O'clock in the morning my husband was killed before my eyes. Firstly, Ram Niwas of Plot No. Y-432 and 431, Mangolpuri collected Jai Pal, his brother Ram Narain, Puran Dhobi, his brother Kalwa, Nanu, Satvir Bhangi and Kale Bhangi who stays with him and Mouji Ram Bhangi, a Bhangi lady who is known by that name.
First of all, Ram Niwas having 2 big iron rods, hit my husband on the head saying that Yai sala Wadhawa Singh Hai. The incidents of 1st and 2nd have been explained by my brother Thakur Singh. This incident pertains to the morning of 3rd at about 4 O'clock which I witnessed my self. After this, Satvir Bhangi, Mouji Ram, Kala Bhangi, who is my neighbour, pointed out that he is the bloody Wadhawa and then Puran Dhobi hit my husband with a sword and his brother Kalwa alias Lala and Jai Pal 'Brickwala' who lives in Y Block, all these reside in Y Block, killed my husband before my eyes. After that his body was thrown on a handcart and my brother Bhajan Singh was ordered to push that. My brother was also beatern by sticks and later when he could not push the hand cart, he was also killed and put on the same hand cart and was burnt together with my husband. Three relative had come to my house, one of them was killed on 2nd, and the other two which included my uncle Ladha Singh and the other one was my father-in-law Jassa Singh, were forcibly taken away by Ram Niwas Khatti, milk vendor of Plot No. Y 431-432 and had burnt them alive. Afterwards Ram Niwas and his companions tried to rape me.
The last of these representative affidavits relating to killing is of Jogi Singh (no. 2367) from Kalyan puri area where the incident is said to have taken place on November 1, 1984. He narrates :
I went to inform the parents of my Bhanja Jorawar Singh that he had been killed in Block No. 11, Kalyanpuri. When I was coming after informing his parents I saw that non-sikh mob has set on fire our Gurudwara near my house. It was about 7.30 a.m. I ran to my house and my neighbour Ch. Jagbir Singh asked me to hide myself in his house and I did so. When the mob had gone away I came out from his house. Similarly other Sikhs who were hiding in the houses of Hindus nearby also came out.
At about 4.30 p.m. on 1-11-84, non-Sikh mob of about 2000 to 3000 instigated, motivated and led by Dr. Ashok, Congress (I) Councillor of the area came there and started attacking the houses of Sikhs. A bus of my relatives namely, Wazir Singh, Bachan Singh and Mohabat Singh which was parked near my house was set on fire by them. At that time, I was hiding in the house of Dal Chand Ration Shop Owner in the area and from there from the holes I was seeing everything.
Then the mob set on fire the house of Swroop Singh who was living in my street and Swaroop Singh was brought by Dharam Deo Maji living near my house and Jai Narain who was earlier living near my house, but had shifted to Block B at that time, alongwith four five others who can be identified by me, and he was killed by daggers and then set on fire by them i.e. Dharam Deo Maji, Jai Narain and others. I saw this incident myself.
That Wazir Singh was also killed by them in a similar manner by dragging him from his house. He was killed and burnt by Dharam Deo Maji, Jai Narain and their 2/3 more companions in the presence of that big mob, where Dr. Ashok, Congress (I) Councillor was also present and he was instigating them to kill the Sikhs mercilessly.
Shri Gurcharan Singh (no. 2706) resident of Lajpat Nagar area, presented a case of arson and looting. He stated :
At 10.30 a.m. on 1-11-84 a mob led by Shri Himmat Rai (Congress worker) and brother of Shri T.R. Malhotra Member, MCD and Shri Sain Ditta Mal of B-1/164 Lajpat Nagar came from Post Office side. The mob was comprising of 150/200 persons mostly of jhuggi jhoupris and few miscreants from Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi . . . . The mob was armed with iron rods, petrol cans, kerosene oil, lathis and some powder, stones etc. and most of the persons were armed with same type of lathis, iron rods etc. and came from Post Office side. These rioters were brought in buses which were parked near S. Avtar Singh's house in E-1st Block. Lajpat Nagar and these buses were seen by S. Avtar Singh and others and the rioters were taken by local leaders to Gurudwara . My own shop, office, Gurudwara records, cash amount of Rs. 4400/- of Gurudwara, Rs. 3500/- of Singh Sabha School, records of school, my professional and business papers, account books were all burnt down. My four Ambassador cars bearing registration Nos. DLY 473, 474, 475 and DLY 807 were set on fire by the mob and damaged them. The police party during that time were heard saying 'Jo kuch ho sakta hai karo' and this police party went away thereafter.
This deponent was cross-examined by the Delhi Administration at length and nothing substantial has come out in cross-examination to take away the effect of his affidavit.
Some allegation of molestation of young ladies has been made in a few affidavits. None of the deponents who was cross examined adverted to this aspect. The Investigating Agency did pursue this matter but no evidence of dependable nature could be obtained. The Commission, keeping in view the quality of the people involved in the operations, would not have been surprised to come across a few incidents of this type.
An analytical break-up of the affidavits filed by the victims with reference to various types of incidents police-station wise has been prepared by the Commission. Similarly, the affidavits have been classified on the basis of date-wise incidents referred to therein. These are available in Volume II at pp. 4 -11, Appendix 3 of the Report.
Grievance has been made that even when the injured were taken to hospitals, at certain places doctors were not available; at others proper treatment was not provided and at yet others indifference was shown. Doctors belong to one of the noblest professions in the community and their professional discipline requires them to save every human life and make all possible attempts to relieve the suffering without bothering about caste or community , status or situation of the patient. Indian doctors with their high spirit and tradition could not have allowed themselves to be obsessed by the thought that two guards of the Sikh community had murdered the democratically chosen leader of their great polity.
There is assertion that some incidents continued to happen even after the 3rd November but the commission is of the view that the riots had ended by that date and whatever happened thereafter was of the stray type and could not be taken to be a part of the riots.
The conclusions of the Investigating Agency in respect of thirty incidents investigated by it are available in Vol. II Appendix 4, pages 12-18.