#Insaaf84: A new SIT, a new hope

29 January 2018 1:02 pm

By Sanam Sutirath Wazir

After years of persistent campaigning, and with the support of more than 650,000 people across India, our demand for the reopening of closed cases related to the 1984 Sikh massacre is closer to being met, with the setting up of a new investigation team by the Supreme Court.

In February 2015, the central government had set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT), comprising two police officers and a retired judge, to look into closed cases related to the killings in 1984.The SIT was given six months to complete the exercise. From the beginning, however, its functioning was marked by a lack of urgency and transparency.

In August 2015, the SIT received an extension of its term by one year. In August 2016, the SIT’s term was extended a second time, and in February 2017, a third time. In March 2017, the SIT finally told the Supreme Court that it had closed 199 cases it was looking into, and in August 2017, the government stated that another 42 had been closed. After over two years of investigation, the SIT had filed charge sheets in only 12 cases. Once again, accountability for the 1984 killings had to wait.

In August 2017, the Supreme Court constituted a supervisory body comprising two former Supreme Court judges to see if the closure of the cases by the SIT was justified.

On 11 January this year, after the supervisory body submitted its report in the Supreme Court, the Court decided to set up its own three-member SIT to probe 186 cases which had not been reopened by the Union government’s SIT. The new team will be headed by a former High Court judge, Justice S. N. Dhingra, and also have a former IPS officer, Rajdeep Singh, and a serving IPS officer, Abhishek Dular.

We hope the new SIT does its job in a time-bound and transparent manner. The SIT must bring to justice all those responsible for the massacres- whether they are political leaders, police or government officials. 

For too long, governments have only paid lip service to the victims and survivors of the 1984 massacre. No words can erase the pain and suffering these people have experienced. The only way forward is justice.