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Gateway to Sikhism

Kusum Lata Mittal Report


C H A P T E R – 3
E A S T D I S T R I C T

3.1.The District comprises the whole of trans- Yamuna area of Delhi, bordering Uttar Pradesh and inhabited by relatively poorer sections of the society.During November 1984 riots it had only nine Police Stations and two more added since then by re-organizing the existing ones.This District had three Sub Divisions, each under the supervision of an Assistant Commissioner of Police. Shri Sewa Dass, IPS., Deputy Commissioner of Police was in overall charge of this District.

Three Sub Divisions were: -

i) Gandhi Nagar: (Police Stations: Gandhi Nagar, Shakarpur and Kalyanpuri).

ii) Shahdara : (Police Stations: Shahdara, Seelampur and Yamunapuri)

iii)Farash Bazar : (Police Stations: Farash Bazar, Krishna Nagar and Seemapuri).

3.2.It was one of the worst affected Districts accounting for almost half the killings in Delhi.This was surprising as the District is very close to the Police Headquarters located just across the River and easily accessible.

3.3.The overall picture, that emerges from the perusal of various records shows that there was complete breakdown of law and order in this District during the riots.There are a number of allegations, not only against the subordinate police staff but also against the senior Police functionaries of this District.The police allowed the situation to go out of hand and of places, actively connived with the miscreants enabling them to carry on their activities with impunity.The general plea, taken by the Police officers that they did not have adequate force to deal with the rioters does not appear to be correct due to the following reasons:

(a)The available force did not take effective action to check the killings and looting.In the Police firing etc. shown to have been done, no injury to anyone, has been reported in police records;

(b)Nowhere the mob defied the police.Hence even small pickets could have been effective if they meant business and had the necessary will to control the situation.

3.4.Late Prime Minister was shot on 31st of October, 1984 morning.The main rioting and killings started on the morning of 1st November 1984, but in East District the incidents of violence had started on the evening of31st October 1984.(Affidavits of Mrs. Ravinder Kaur, wife of Mr. Amrik Singh No. 2778).Most of the killings had taken place on 1st and 2nd November 1984 but continued thereafter.The last major incident was on 5th November 1984 in which a Constable has been named as a killer (FIR No. 609) dated the 5th November 1984, Police station Shahdara.)

3.5According to the figures supplied by the Delhi Police, only 105 people were killed in this District.The actual figure was, however, much higher.The Relief Commissioner has given compensation to as many as 1,234 victims from this District.The Citizens’ Justice Committee (before the Misra Commission) has given the approximate number of deaths as 1,695.it is difficult to come to an exact figure but it can be safely stated that the deaths in this District were around 1,500 besides innumerable cases of arson and looting.

3.6.In spite of such massacre, the preventive action was almost negligible.No preventive arrests were made on 31st October, and 1st November 1984.On 2nd November 1984 there were only four arrests in Police Station Farsh Bazar.However, on 3rd November 1984, a number of preventive arrests were made but only after hue and cry was made in the press any by responsible citizens of the Country.

3.7.Not only this, in the initial stages of the riots only Sikhs (the victims) were arrested.This continued till late in the evening of 2nd November 1984 when Trilok puri carnage had surfaced.

3.8.A summary of arrests made and force stated to have been used by Delhi Police, as per their own records, is at Annexure ‘A’.

3.9.The above facts give a clear indication of the attitude of Police of this District towards the riots.The affected people who needed protection were the ones persecuted by the Police.Not only this, the licensed weapons of the Sikhs were also systematically taken away, thus enabling the mobs to kill the Sikhs without fear of any worthwhile resistance.

3.10.The removal of SHO Shahdara (a Sikh officer) and Inspector Badan Singh) another Sikh officer) from Swaran Cinema, both of whom were inclined to take effective action would have demoralized the police staff of at least two police stations.

3.11.The general attitude of the Police of this District can be visualized from the following three illustrative affidavits: -

(i)SHRI ANUP SINGHS/O SHRI CHET SINGH, RESIDENT OF J-1, EAST VINOD NAGAR, DELHI. AFFIDAVIT NO. 2809.

He describes the attitude of police who joined the crowd and were involved in the attack. They incited the mob by shouting “Kill Sardars, Loot and burn their houses, they are traitors, they are snakes, they have killed our mother”.They also refused to give protection on being requested by the local people.

(ii)SHRI HARBANS SINGH S/O SHRI PREM SINGH, RESIDENT OF J-7, EAST VINOD NAGAR, DELHI, AFFIDAVIT NO. 2815.

He describes how on his return from Kapurthala, Punjab, on the evening of 1st November, 1984, four armed Policemen standing near the Octroi Post near Shakarpur refused to let him rest near them and told him to go in the open fields nearby.Thereafter, they informed the mob coming that way that a Sardar had gone into the fields.He also describes how he was attacked by this mob and brought back in the Octroi Post but even then the Policemen gave no help.Since he had only one arm, he was not killed by the mob and only beaten and his hair was cut.He also describes how he learnt about the killing of his son and how on the 3rd November 1984 police carried away a truckload of dead bodies. He was cross-examined at length before the Misra Commission and stood his ground.

(iii)SMT. NANKI DEVI, W/O SHRI JOGINDER SINGH, RESIDENT OF A-3/500, NAND NAGRI DELHI. AFFIDAVIT NO. 2550.

The lady has described events on the morning of 1st November 1984 at a number of places as she had gone to Shastri Nagar early in the morning for work as usual.She had to pass through quite a few Police Stations walking all the way back home on foot.About the police, she had stated that at Bhajanpura Petrol Pump, 4-5 policemen along with the mob were beating up the drivers of trucks and burning them.When asked why they were doing this, they asked her to go away and mind her business.She later describes the killings of a number of people near her house in Nand Nagri in which she also lost her husband.

3.12. There was a deliberate attempt on the part of the police officers to with hold the information about killings.On 1st November, 1984 at 1600 hrs. Commissioner of Police had asked for certain details regarding deaths, injuries and arson but the same does not appear to have been communicated to him.The DeputyCommissioner of Police (East) on receipt of the Commissioner of Police’s message, had asked the SHOs togive this information to him but there is no record of his having passed it on to his superiors.

3.13.It reflects a rather sorry state of affairs that the Police Officers havedeliberately pleaded ignorance till late in the evening of 2nd November, 1984 regarding killings in Trilokpuri, Police Station Kalyan Puri where about 500 people were killed, in spite of a clear message from Police Station Kalyanpuri at 1510 hrs. on 1st November, 1984 to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (East).Even an army officer slitting as far away as Police Station Darya ganj could inform about me as killings but not the Police staff itself.For instance, message from East Control Room reads as under: -

“ 2nd November, 1984 – 1825 hours: Lt.Col. Informed office of Assistant Commissioner of Police/Daryaganj that many women and children have come to him weeping and all saying that people are indulging in killings in Block No. 34, Trilok Puri which has been totally deserted”.Lack of Knowledge of a large number of killings on the part of Officers of this District is, therefore, not at all acceptable.To give another example, in a report dated 11.2.1985, SHO Yamunapuri mentions that on 2nd November 1984, 29 dead bodies were found and sent for post mortem on that day.There are many similar reports in the logs and FIRs in the Police Stations including that of Police Station Kalyanpuri mentioned above.

3.14.There is evidence to indicate that attempts were made to quietly remove the dead bodies and dispose them of.A message from East District Control Room is quite revealing in this context:

“ 2nd November, 1984 – 1754 hours: E.O1/55/06 – Deputy Commissioner of Police/East be told to remove eight dead bodies lying in Vinod Nagar.From G.2 through police Control Room.”

3.15. The registration of cases was deliberately restricted to minimize the extent of the incidents of violence.In the first instance, the Deputy Commissioner of Police had ordered for registration of cases locality wise only.One of the Assistant Commissioners of Police has improved upon this direction by specifying the exact number of cases to be registered in his three Police Stations.

3.16.The functioning of the Police of this District can be judged from the fact that even after the details of massacres in Trilokpuri had come to light on 2nd November, 1984, afternoon, and heavy deployment of extra force stated to have been made, the incidents of killings and burning of dead bodies continued on the 3rd and at some places even up to 5lth November, 1984.

3.17.The army moved into the East District on 2nd November, 1984and camped at Shahdara, Seelampur and Yamunapuri.Apparently, even after the arrival of the army, the Civil Administration did not make effective use of the army.Hence violence continued.

3.18.The evidence forthcoming indicates that the Police in the District appeared to be under pressure and influence of local leaders and toughs for reasons best known to them.Subsequently, as late as 1987, quite a few cases have been registered at various Police Stations naming these so-called leaders and local toughs as accused.

3.19.The manner, in which it was decided by the senior Police Officers to deal with the looters of property, shows the pressure under which they were working as a result of which all legal and moral niceties were thrown to the winds.Nowhere does the law stipulate that perpetrators of looting and robbing be asked to return the property looted and robbed in return for which a general pardon can be granted to them by the Police.Yet this is exactly what had been done by Additional Commissioner of Police Shri Jatav in the following collective message which is in the nature of an order: -

“ 4th November, 1984 – 0737 hours: From E.G. – 3 – All SHOs should announce in their respective areas that those having looted property should deposit it at the Police Stations failing which legal action will be taken on recovery.,”

This clearly shows the nexus between the criminals and the police.That is why the Police Officers found it extremely inconvenient and embarrassing to take any action against the culprits.

3.20.The fact that the local Police and the so-called leaders were working in collusion is corroborated by subsequent attempts made by various police personnel to obtain affidavits before Justice Misra Commission absolving both the police and local leaders of the various charges.These affidavits have apparently been obtained through deceit and coercion as would be clear from their subsequent statements before the Commission.

3.21.The events are also an extremely had reflection on the functioning of the intelligence staff of the Delhi Police in the East District.Their names are at Annexure ‘B’.No worthwhile information was given by them to their senior officers.It is all the more reprehensible that information regarding East District reached Police Headquarters through Press Reporters and an army officer sitting as far away as Police Station Daryaganj, but the intelligence staff did absolutely nothing even though allegedly present in the field in these very areas.Suitable disciplinary action, therefore, needs to be taken against the Intelligence Staff for their lapses.

3.22.It is painful to note that despite killings, looting and arson going on such a magnitude, there had not been single instance in which the conduct of any individual police officer in this District can really be appreciated.

3.23.The responsibility for the situation going totally out of control, lies, as much with the senior officers of the Delhi Police, particularly the Additional Commissioner of Police Shri H., C. Jatav and Shri Sewa Dass, Deputy Commissioner of Police as with the local SHOs/Assistant Commissioners of Police.

3.24.The events of each Police Station as well as the role of the superior officers are now being discussed at some length:

POLICE STATION FARSH BAZAR

SHO:Shri Daryao Singh

ACP:Shri B.S. Bhola

3.25.Police Station Farsh Bazar is located in the east of the District bordering Uttar Pradesh.ACP Shri B.S. Bhola was on leave at that time.In his place Shri Parshottam Dass, ACP) HQ was supervising the Police Station.The office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police is also located in the jurisdiction of this Police Station.

AFFIDAVITS BEFORE THIS COMMITTEE

3.26.In response to the public notices issued by this Committee, three affidavits have been received which mainly pertain to losses incurred during the riots and non-registration of cases by the police.

AFFIDAVITS BEFORE MISRA COMMISSION

3.27.No affidavit was received in the Misra Commission pertaining to this Police Station.

EVENTS

3.28.The incidents of violence started in the morning of 1st November 1984.Serious incidents were setting Gurudwara Hargobind Place and Gurudwara Anand Vihar ablaze; and attempt to burn Swaran Cinema.Swaran Cinema is located very close to the District Police Headquarters.Deputy Commissioner of Police sent the R.I. of the District, Inspector Badan Singh, (a Sikh officer) to the spot.Inspector Badan Singh fired twice in the air to scare away the mob.The Deputy Commissioner of police reached there and quickly realizing that R.I. was a Sikh officer, sent him back.The R.I. had apparently saved the building from being totally burnt as the records show that this very C9inema was again set on fire by the mob on the morning of 3rd November 1984.Another serious incident occurred at about 1445 hours when a mob surrounded the house of one Harbans Singh whose family members were entrapped inside.Allegedly, SHO along with a posse of police force reached the spot, opened fire in the air and rescued the family members.The other events of this Police Station indicate that the police rescued some people and effective action prevented further loss of life.

DEATHS

3.29.The numbers of deaths in this Police Station were around ten.

DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATION

Taking on overall view of this Police Station, it does not appear to be necessary to recommend any action against any one in this Police Station.As regards Swaran Cinema the senior officers will have to take the responsibility as Deputy Commissioner of police was present on the spot.

POLICE STATION : SHAHDARA

SHO:SHRI M.S. SAPRA

ACP: SHRI D.D. SHARMA

3.31.Shahdara Police Station area is thickly populated, across the Yamuna, with a population of over two lakhs; the Sikh population would be around three per cent.

AFFIDAVITS RECEIVED BY THIS COMMITTEE

3.32.In response to public notices issued by this Committee, only three affidavits have been received.The affidavits before the Committee are of general nature not of much use for the work assigned to it.

AFFIDAVITS BEFORE THE MISRA COMMISSION

3.33.Out of the persons who had filed affidavits before the Misra Commission, the following persons were called up for examination: -

SHRI DALIP SINGH (24743)- He gives an account of the mob attacking his house at about 1100 hrs.On 1st of November 1984 and has also named fourteen persons who were part of the mob, as they belonged to the neighbouring localities.The mob burnt his factory, which was close to his house.He had lodged a report with the Police on 6th of November 1984 but no action has been taken and, in fact, the police is prosecuting him himself under section 304 IPC.

SMT. SURJIT KAUR (2704) - She had lost two members of her family.Her Husband, a private truck driver, was attacked on 31st October 1984 itself, but escaped.She had given a graphic description of the happenings on 1st November 1984 which shows that the mob was moving about in the area and a group of six police-men standing nearby were not taking any action whatsoever.On the basis of this affidavit after a long delay, a case has been registered in February 1987 by the Delhi Police.

SHRI SARDOOL SINGH (2816) – He had lost seven members of his family when his house was burnt on 2nd November 1984 morning.He was the lone survivor.According to him, he went to lodge a report with Police Station Shahdara on 12th November 1984, naming eleven people from among the mob.Sub Inspector Tulsi Das present at the Police Station, called some of these very persons to the Police Station including the one who was armed.The Sub Inspector is alleged to have forced the deponent to sign on paper stating that he had nothing against those people.

SMT. SWARAN KAUR (2787 and 2466) – She lost her husband and two other family members.She has named certain persons, in her affidavit, who were leading the mob.The attack on her house took place on the night of 2nd November 1984.She has given a graphic account of the way the mob was attacking and killing people.According to her, everything was happening in front of the police personnel who gave no help whatsoever.

SHRI NIHAL SINGH (2516)- He has given a detailed account of the incidents on 1st November, 1984 morning and named eight persons of the locality.According to him, a Police jeep was also standing near the place where the arson and killings were taking place.He has given details of the Mahendra & Mahendra factory being burnt and its Proprietor killed.He has named the persons in the mob who were carrying guns and revolvers.He was threatened by the named persons against disclosing their names to the Commission.In his cross-examination, he has confirmed having seen the police jeep.

SHRI SADHU SINGH (163) – He has stated how the residents of the locality had taken possession of his property and even made a temple on the same.The same was restored to him later on after intervention by the army authorities, as he is an ex-soldier.

3.34. There are a few other affidavits of this Police Station, which generallydescribe the incidents.

EVENTS

3.35.Violent incidents in this Police Station area had started late in the evening of 31st October 1984.The main killings had, however, taken place on 1st and 2nd November 1984.According to the police records the main trouble started on 1st November, 1984 morning at 10.10 hrs. On Chhajjupur Road near the Police Station.Inspector M.S. Sapra, S.H.O. mobilized the available force and moved out in the police vehicles as well as private auto rickshaws.Shri Sewa Dass, Deputy Commissioner of Police and Shri D.D. Sharma, Assistant Commissioner of Police also reached the place.

3.36. The SHO (a Sikh Officer) wanted to deal with the situation effectively but was prevented from doingso by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, who sent him back to the Police Station in his own car ostensibly to save him from the mob, which was stated to be“menacingly dangerous towards him”.Thereafter Shri Sapra could not move out of the Police Station.No one was posted as his replacement and as a result the Police Station was for all practical purposes working without an SHO that naturally led to the situation going out ofcontrol.

DEATHS

3.37. As per affidavits filed before Misra Commission, the number of deaths is 586.The Relief Commissioner’s figure indicates 258 deaths.The number of deaths should be in the vicinity of 300, if not more.In addition to this, there have been 147 incidents of arson and 36 incidents of looting as per Delhi Administration records.The incidents which started on 31st October, 1984 evening had continued right up to 5th November, 1984 when the last majorincident occurred involving the deaths of two persons (FIR No. 609 dated the 5th November, 1984).

FIR' s

3.38. Despite the fact that so many incidents and killings had occurred, the number of FIRs registered from 1st November 1984 to 5thNovember 1984is only four.Out of these, one FIR No. 606 pertains to the killing of a non-Sikh.Two cases have been registered on 1st November, 1984 (FIR No. 607) and 2nd November, 1984 (FIR No. 608) on reports by the Sub Inspector of the Police Station and pertain to a number of incidents at different places and not to any specific instance.In both the FIRs, there is mention of dead bodies.The FIR No. 608 is of 2nd November 1984 registered at 11.30 hrs.it also mentions that senior officers have beeninformed. Of the incident.The fourth FIR No. 609 was registered on 5th November 1984 in respect of the killings of two persons and in this, one Constable is named.This would show that no cases had been registered in respect of any of the incidents occurring after 11.30 hrs. On 2nd November 1984 to 0830 hrs. Of 5th November 1984.

POLICE STATION

3.39.According to police records, police did not make any preventive arrests between 31st October 1984 – 3rd November 1984.They also did not resort to lathi charge.Firing was resorted to only on 2nd November 1984 after a lot of damage had already taken place.Even then, there is nothing to show that the firing etc. resorted to be effective as there is no mention of any injuries to any of the rioters.Besides, no arrests in any case were made up to 4th November, 1984 and then only twenty-two preventive arrests made on 4th November, 1984.

DISCUSSION OF EVIDENCE

3.40. Although there had been a large number of killings in the jurisdiction of this Police Station, there are no specific allegations against any individual police officer.There are, however, allegations of police in action, which is confirmed by the fact that no effective preventive actionwas taken by way of any arrest of by way of use of force.The general pattern of the police asking the Sikhs to go into their houses and then disappearing from the scene leaving the Sikhs at the mercy of the mobs has been followed in this Police Station.

3.41.Besides the presence of subordinate police personnel at various places of rioting and killings, the Assistant Commissioner of Police as well as Deputy Commissioner of Police has been present at many places.It is obvious that besides the subordinate staff, even the Deputy Commissioner of Police was not only ineffective but also concealed the facts of killings as is indicated from the affidavit No. 2737 of Shri Sanjay Suri, a Press Reporter.The reporter says that though dead bodies were lying around, the Deputy Commissioner of Police was telling him that there had been no serious incidents in Shahdara or elsewhere in the District.

3.42. The general defense for inaction is non-availabilityof force.But records show that extra police force had been made available on 1st, 2nd and 3rd November 1984, to this Police Station.Besides this, a tear gas squad was also sent on 1st November 1984.

3.43.Apparently, no effective use of the available force was made, the plea of inadequacy of force is, therefore, not at all tenable.

RECOMMENDATION

3.44.The lapses of the police personnel of this Police Station are: -

i)Total break-down of the law and order machinery mainly due to the immobilization of the SHO and no alternative arrangements;

ii)No preventive or positive action to check riots and deal with the rioters;

iii)Non-registration of FIRs and harassment of the victims.

3.45.Disciplinary action is called for against Sub Inspector Surendra Dev and Sub Inspector Tulsi Dass on whose reports FIR No. 607 on 1st November 1984 and FIR No. 608 on 2nd November 1984 had been registered.They have mentioned a large number of incidents of burning and killings.Yet, with the force available with them, no preventive or effective action was taken.There is no mention of any lathi charge, tear-gas or firing having been resorted to in spite of such a large number of killings.

3.46.Disciplinary action against Sub Inspector Tulsi Dass is also recommended for calling to the Police Station those very people, carrying weapons, against whom a complaint was being lodged by Shri Sardool Singh (Affidavit No. 2816) and thus trying to silence him.

POLICE STATION – SEELAMPUR

SHO: Shri Bhim Singh

ACP: Shri D.D. Sharma

3.47.Police Station Seelampur is along the bank of river Yamuna.

AFFIDAVITS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE

3.48.No affidavit has been received by this Committee in response to public notices.

AFFIDAVITS RECEIVED IN MISRA COMMISSION

3.49.In the Misra Commission, three affidavits were filed.Two of the deponents, Shri Sujan Singh and Smt. Rawail Kaur, had been examined.

SHRI RAM SINGH (2573)

He describes how his house and shop were attacked on 1st November 1984 at about 1030 hrs.SHO Bhim Singh and Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) mentioned as S.P. Sahib had come along.They mentioned that they had come to rescue him and asked him to bring his licensed gun.He was taken to the Police Station and on the next day sent to jail.Details about this case are being given subsequently.

SHRI SUJAN SINGH (2821)

He describes how he, being a Congress worker himself, was informed by another co-worker that his party men had decided to take revenge for the death of their Prime Minister and advised him to run away.Soon after the mob attacked him but he was saved by Sub Inspector Gian Chand who happened to be a close friend of him.For a few days, he stayed with his neighbour who had originally warned him to escape.

SMT. RAWAIL KAUR (2678)

She has given an account of the killings of her husband and other family members in front of her eyes.The dead bodies were burnt.The culprits continued to terrorize her as they were released shortly after they were arrested.

EVENTS

3.50.Trouble in this Police Station had started in the morning of 1st November 1984.The first serious incident was burning of Maujpur Gurudwara where the SHO and ACP, had reached.The SHO had stayed in that area from 0930 hrs. To 1145 hrs.Some shops were burnt in that area.Subsequently, there was trouble in Gamri Colony and the SHO remained there from 12.00 hrs. To about 1315 hrs. In the afternoon, there was trouble in Seelampur and Gamri Extension.Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) as well as Assistant Commissioner of Police, Shahdara were also there.This is confirmed from Shri Ram Singh’s version, though there is a difference in the time in the two versions.

3.51.An extract from the SHO’s report dated the 30th November, 1984, indicates as under: -

“ At 1315 hrs. a huge excited crowd had collected around the house of Shri Ram Singh, resident of G-107, New Seelampuri and wanted to set it on fire.Ram Singh of Seelampur opened fire with his licensed 12-bore gun injuring ten persons.This infuriated the mob, which swelled to 3000-4000 around Ram Singh’s house.SHO, Seelampur along with ACP/Shri D.D. Sharma and DCP/East used ten tear-gas shells and opened fire and rescued Ram Singh and his family members in truck No. UST-6375 under heavy showers of brick-bats from the mob”.

SHO alleges that he was hurt due to the brick batting.However, no one seems to have been arrested by the police during this incident.

3.52.Subsequently, at around 1430 hrs. The mob also gheraoed Police Station, Seelampur under the impression that Shri Ram Singh and his family members had been kept there.The crowd was dispersed.No one seems to have been arrested even then and no case registered against the rioters.

3.53.It had not been mentione4d that Ram Singh had committed any offence.However, at 1625 hrs. a case was registered by the SHO on a report taken from a private person against Shri Ram Singh and as indicated in his affidavit he was arrested and sent to jail next day.This action of the police does not seem to be justified.

3.54.There are no serious incidents mentioned in the Police records nor is there any reference to any killings within the Police Station.The SHO is stated to have fired from his service revolver twice, two rounds each in the morning of the 1st November 1984.Use of tear gas and cane chargingwere also stated to have been done by him.

DEATHS

3.55.The Delhi Administration figure shows fifty-one deaths.The Relief Commissioner’s records indicate forty persons killed.It would be safe to presume that the total deaths would be around fifty in this Police Station.

FIR' s

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