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1984 Pogrom

Ahooja Committee Report :Delhi Riots – 1984

Ahooja Committee Report



In the aftermath of the carnage, one of the issues that the Opposition parties disputed with the Rajiv Gandhi Government was the exact death toll. Barely a month after the carnage, Atal Behari Vajpayee released a survey conducted by the BJP of the killed persons. It’s estimate was about 2,700, a figure worth recalling because it is very close to the official death toll finally determined by the Government almost three years later.

A committee headed by the then home secretary of Delhi Administration, R.K. Ahooja, conducted a detailed survey drawing on diverse sources like the FIRs, compensation claims and the list provided by the Citizens Justice Committee (CJC).The Ahooja committee also put notices in newspapers inviting the public to give information about deaths in Delhi during the 1984 carnage. The figure the Ahooja committee arrived at in August 1987 after this elaborate (though belated) exercise is 2,733.

Earlier, the Government bandied much smaller figures. A month after the carnage, home minister P.V. Narasimha Rao told a parliamentary committee that about 800 people were killed during the carnage. But in the course of the Misra Commission’s proceedings, the Government increased its estimate of the deaths in Delhi to 2,307.This was in response to the CJC’s much higher estimate: 3,949.

The Misra Commission therefore suggested the appointment of a committee to settle the issue. Misra also observed that the correct death toll would be somewhere between the Government’s estimate of 2,307 and the CJC’s estimate of 3,949. In the event, the Ahooja committee concluded that the number of people killed in the 1984 carnage in Delhi alone is 2,733.

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