Human Rights Issues

[op-ed snap] Glimmer of hope: On fresh SIT report on 1984 riots


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Communal riots in India


A report by a court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) will tell if there is any improvement in bringing justice for the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom. As many as 3,325 people from the Sikh community, including 2,733 in Delhi alone, were killed in the pogrom.

Progress on the issue

  • Successful prosecutions have been few and far between.
  • Each time a new probe is ordered or a fresh report submitted, it is seen as major progress. 
  • The SIT was formed by the Supreme Court a year ago to examine the record in 186 cases.
  • Another SIT had scrutinised 293 cases and closed 199 of them. A two-member team of retired apex court judges scrutinised these 199 cases, along with 42 other matters that had been closed earlier. 
  • The supervisory committee was informed that 186 cases merited further investigation.
  • A fresh three-member team was asked to examine these 186 cases. Last week, the team submitted its report.
  • The development offers a glimmer of hope to the victims of 1984.


  • It is not easy to secure convictions in instances of communal riots and sectarian violence.
  • This is difficult for those that involve thousands of offenders gripped by mob frenzy.
  • There was little effort in the early days to bring to book the high political functionaries of the Congress who were suspected to have instigated the riots. 
  • The country has seen other large-scale riots and pogroms after 1984 but has not been able to ensure substantive justice.
  • Delhi High Court’s suggestion in Sajjan Kumar case, to have separate legislation to deal with mass murders that amount to genocide or crimes against humanity should be considered.




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