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1984 Anti-Sikh Riots: 37 years after Kanpur riots, SIT arrests 4 for triple murder

Three years after the Yogi Adityanath government set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur, four persons were arrested on  Wednesday in connection with the triple murder that took place 37 years ago.

This is the first arrest made by the SIT since it was constituted in 2019 by the BJP government.

The SIT said the four accused –  Safiullah (64), Abdul Rehman (65), Vijay Narain Singh alias Bachan Singh (62) and Yogendra Singh alias Babban Baba (65) – have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the murder of Bhupendra Singh, Satyaveer Singh Kala and Rakshpal Singh at Nirala Nagar on November 1, 1984.

The Kanpur police, which had investigated the case following the riots, had filed a closure report on the ground that the accused could not be traced.

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“The role of the four accused came to light during our investigation. We arrested them after collecting solid evidence against them. Raids are being conducted to trace other accused involved in the triple murder,” Superintendent of Police Balendu Bhushan, who is a member of the SIT, said.

According to the SIT, when the riots broke out on November 1, 1984, a group of assailants attacked a building at Nirala Nagar where 12 Sikh families resided.

“A group of assailants entered the building and killed Rakshpal Singh and Bhupendra Singh with sticks and sharp-edged weapons on the terrace. They brought down the bodies and set them on fire. The assailants also attacked building owner Gurudayal Singh Bhatia and his son Satyaveer Singh Kala. Satyaveer later died during treatment. The rioters set ablaze the house that led to cylinder blasts killing one of the rioters, identified as Rajesh Gupta died,” the SP said, adding the rioters had fled with valuables from the house.

The anti-Sikh riots erupted in Kanpur following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. At least 127 people were killed in the violence in the district.

In 2019, the BJP government constituted an SIT to examine all the 1,251 cases linked to the riots in Kanpur.

The SIT shortlisted 40 of the 1,251 cases that were of serious nature. Of the 40, Kanpur police had filed chargesheets in 11 cases and submitted closure reports in the remaining 29.

The SIT then asked the state government to file appeals against the lower court’s verdict in four of the 11 cases. Of the 29 cases in which closure reports were filed, the SIT did not find evidence in nine cases.

“During our investigation into the 20 cases, we found involvement of 96 people. However, 22 of the 96 accused had died. We have arrested four accused and raids are being conducted to trace the remaining 70 others,” said the SP.

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