THERE is hope for justice for the Kanpur victims of the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. The UP Government has set up an SIT that will reprise the events that led to the targeted killing of 127 Sikhs. In this relook into their cases, the hapless victims see a renewed chance of the healing of their wounds that they have been suffering for nearly three and a half decades. The FIRs closed long ago due to lack of evidence following ham-handed investigation now must be dusted and examined thoroughly and fairly. The only salve that will heal the wound of the riot-hit that has been festering all these years is punishment to the heinous perpetrators, who have enjoyed impunity till now. They have been roaming free and even flourishing under the patronage of political bosses ever since.
In a shameful contrast, the innocent families of those butchered, burnt alive and raped and whose homes and shops were torched for no fault of theirs have been condemned to a torturous time, rebuilding their lives and businesses from scratch. Depths of despair have been their lot as even justice eluded them, with both police investigations and court procedures failing to nail the culprits for decades. Their cries have led to the forming of many a commission of inquiry by the Centre and governments of various hues promising rehabilitation and justice. But they all ended up as mere eyewash, or giving very little. There were no convictions till last year.
It is from these court verdicts holding Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and two others guilty of riots in Delhi even after the huge time lag that hope springs for the Kanpur Sikhs. The lapses of the past 34 years must be undone and the long arm of the law should reach up to the rioters who ran amok those three horrendous days after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984 even as the authorities looked away. After Delhi, it was in Kanpur that most Sikhs were hit. On the fresh SIT probe rests the hope of justice for 127 Sikhs massacred and 1,300 families displaced. Hopefully, that day is not far.