Nov 012011

Congress leader Sajjan Kumar instigated the mob in Palam Colony of Delhi and after that rioters burnt Nirpreet’s father alive. His only fault was that he was a Sikh, said Nirpreet.

"84 riots victims Nirpreet and Jagdish Kaur"

“At least I got the chance to identify him (Kumar) in court. I have done my job. Now, it’s the state’s turn,” Nirpreet says. For the first time in nearly three decades, Nirpreet, who had lost hope that the guilty would ever be punished, feels there is a glimmer of hope that Kumar would be punished after all.

Twenty-seven years later, Nirpreet came face to face with Kumar once again in a city court in January this year. She was there to tell the court if Kumar incited mobs to kill Sikhs during the ’84 riots.

“I was sent to jail for raising my voice. My first husband couldn’t take that and left me,” Nirpreet, who runs an NGO that rehabilitates riot victims, says. She lives with her two sons in Tilak Nagar.

Her fight to nail the accused, particularly Kumar, was not easy. Nirpreet was subjected to threats, intimidation and slapped with false charges as serious as TADA, for which she reportedly spent several years in jail.
Another riot victim Jagdish Kaur also told her story:  “It was around 9 am. I was preparing breakfast. Shree, a friend of my elder brother Gurpreet, came to our house to tell us that a mob had set a Sikh military jeep on fire and was approaching our area.”Around 10 am, rioters entered the colony and set several houses and vehicles on fire. Then, they entered the lane where Jagdish lived. The rioters, she says, were shouting slogans like “Kill, kill, kill the Sikhs. No Sikh should be spared”.Soon, the mob barged into her house. They first beat up Gurpreet. The assailants then hit her husband with a rod, killing him.

The rioters then dragged her son out of the house where they thrashed him until he died. Jagdish promptly moved her three daughters – Harvinder, Harjeet and Gurjee, then aged 13, 11 and 9 years respectively, to the terrace. Minutes later, her three cousins who lived close by – Narendra Pal, Ragvinder and Kuldeep Singh – were burned alive by the mob.

Source: India Today
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