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You reap as you sow

You reap as you sow

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 11, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/168819/You-reap-as-you-sow.html

No tears are being shed for Tytler, Kumar

Although it has acted rather late in the day, that too under mounting public pressure and because it fears electoral reverses, the Congress's decision not to field Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar in the general election is a welcome move. Both of them are tainted by serious allegations of inciting and leading murderous mobs during the 1984 pogrom in which at least 3,000 Sikhs were killed in Delhi alone after the tragic assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi; neither deserves to contest on a national party's ticket. It is nobody's case that Tytler and Kumar should be pronounced guilty on the basis of mere allegations and media reports. Like everybody else who is accused of committing a criminal offence, they too are entitled to a fair trial, which they must face. This is as non-negotiable as the demand voiced by both Sikhs and Hindus that the two Congress leaders must be tried along with others who are believed to have been responsible for the horrendous bloodletting of 1984. There is absolutely no reason why their protestations of innocence should be taken at face value. Nor should we be persuaded by bogus testimonials issued by the Congress.

In normal circumstances the cases against them should have been filed by the Delhi Police. But the Delhi Police itself stands accused of playing a criminally partisan role during the 1984 slaughter. There are reasons to believe that many of its officials and men had either participated in the atrocities or had stood by and done nothing while innocent men, women and children were butchered and their houses looted and set on fire. The Delhi Police also stands accused of tampering with crucial evidence relating to the pogrom indicting certain individuals and organisations. Hence, the prosecution has to be handled by another agency, namely the CBI. The Ranganath Misra Commission of inquiry and the subsequent committees that were set up failed in their primary task of fixing responsibility for the pogrom. It was only the Nanavati Commission which, despite the passage of time, was able to put together evidence culled from depositions, statements and affidavits, and come to the conclusion that the Government must take appropriate steps to prosecute Tytler and Kumar. But the Congress was most reluctant to do so and tried every possible disingenuous method to white-wash their role in the carnage. In the end, the Congress decided to sack Tytler from the Union Council of Ministers and, if only to pacify outraged sentiments, allowed the filing of cases against him. Not surprisingly, the CBI, which was given the task of prosecuting Tytler, has played a dubious role. Earlier, the investigation agency had made a show of moving against Kumar only to have its men beaten black and blue by the politician's musclemen; subsequently it did nothing to redeem its credibility. Worse, it sought to absolve Tytler of his alleged crimes.

Last month the CBI surreptitiously approached the courts, seeking a closure of all cases against Tytler, claiming that they had no substantive evidence against him. This is hogwash. It is important to note that the CBI's motivated attempt to let Tytler walk free coincided with the Congress declaring that he and Kumar would contest the election as its candidates. Since the executive has abysmally failed in fulfilling its responsibility, the judiciary should now step in. It is not enough that Tytler and Kumar should withdraw from the electoral race. They must be prosecuted and punished if found guilty. There can be no other closure.

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