Sikri Commission Report
In view of the considerations contained in our report, we would recommend that a Commission of Inquiry – set up in accordance with the relevant law and consisting of eminent non-official and non-political personalities, known and respected for their objectivity, impartiality, integrity and experience – be constitued to ascertain all the facts concerning the events that took place between 31 October and 4 November in Delhi.
Our conclusions make it amply clear that the first and most essential responsibility of the Government should be to identify all the culprits, regardless of their social, political or economic standing, and to deal with them in strict accordance with the law of the land. Many of them have been named or identified on several occasions. They must be brought to trial without any further delay.
To facilitate comprehensive and expeditious investigations, an adequate number of special investigation teams, consisting of experienced personnel of known integrity and competence, should be constituted forthwith. To ensure speedy disposal of such cases, special courts, competent to award deterrent sentences without procedural delays, should be set up – under a special law, if necessary.
Only such steps will convince the people that the Government does not allow any individual, however influential or well-placed, to violate the law with impunity. The supremacy, uniformity and majesty of the law must be upheld.
We have referred to the utter failure and dereliction of duty of the police in Delhi. Some of them have been accused of instigating or even participating in the criminal acts committed during the fateful five days. Wherever such officials are found to have committed crimes, they should be prosecuted according to the law. Negligence or dereliction of duty calls for exemplary punishment after departmental enquiry. Where appropriate, recourse could be had to the proviso to Article 311 of the Constitution.
The scales of compensation announced so far are inadequate and need to be reviewed. We recommend that full compensation be given to all who have lost their means of livelihood, to those whose dwellings have been destroyed or damaged or whose property has been looted and not recovered, and to those whose large or small shops or factories have sustained damage. Special consideration should be given to widows and orphans. We recommend that widows be given a large enough sum of money which could yield an adequate annuity if invested. Orphans and children of women widowed during the disturbances should be provided with free education along with a suitable stipend to take care of their maintenance so long as their studies are not completed.
Trucks, private cars, scooters, taxis, auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws and other vehicles were destroyed in their hundreds. In the majority of cases, these vehicles, whether owned or hired, provided the owners with their means of livelihood. Ad hoc compensation should be given for all damaged or destroyed vehicles in cases where the insurance cover did not include damage during riot or civil commotion. If a particular kind of vehicle is in short supply, directives should be issued to ensure priority supply.
Many victims are not willing to return to their former residential areas. Suitable alternative sites should be provided, comparable to their previous places of residence. Relocation of widows should be effected only after due consultation with them and their individual consent obtained as far as possible.
For loss of business or damage to premises, factories or stock-in-trade, where they were uninsured, interest-free loans for a restricted period should be authorised. If this is not found possible, at least the differential rate of interest should be extended to them.
The Commission was informed that in some areas women had been abducted. Vigorous steps should be taken to recover and reunite them with their families.
By extending protection to Sikhs, some non-Sikh individuals sustained damage to their property. Generous compensation should be given to such persons who risked their lives and property in this endeavour.
To those whose houses, shops or factories were destroyed or damaged, controlled items, amongst them building materials, should be supplied on a priority basis and at a concessional price.
Delhi, being the capital, is a microcosm of the country. Its police force should represent this variety to the maximum extent feasible bearing in mind other service requirements and desiderata. As recent events have shown, the present force has forfeited public confidence. Serious thought should therefore be given to its reorganisation.