The Special Investigation Team (SIT), set up by the Yogi Adityanath government to investigate cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur, on Tuesday arrested two more persons, taking the total number of arrests to six.
Mobin Shah (60) and Amar Singh (61) were arrested in connection with the murder of three persons by a mob in the Kidwai Nagar area of Kanpur on November 1, 1984. The SIT had arrested four persons last week in connection with the same incident.
According to an SIT official, Amar Singh is a history-sheeter at Ghatampur police station with 10 cases against him.
The SIT is also looking for the nephew of the then local Congress MLA in connection with the same case.
“We are looking for 65-year-old Raghvendra Kushawaha. He is the nephew of the then local Congress MLA Shivnath Singh Kushwaha. During the probe, it was found that Raghvendra had allegedly led and instigated mobs after the riots broke out in the city and his role has been established in the murder of three persons in the Kidwai Nagar area. Raghvendra had shifted to Mahoba district where is involved in a business. On Monday, an SIT team raids his Mahoba residence, but could not find him,” Superintendent of Police Balendu Bhushan, who is a member of the SIT, told The Indian Express.
According to the SIT, Raghvendra is among the 68 people who the police are looking for in connection with the riots.
Raghvendra’s family, however, could not be contacted.
In 2020, his brother Indrajeet had told The Indian Express that Raghvendra was exonerated by the court earlier. “After the 1984 riots, Raghvendra was arrested under the Arms Act. While in jail, police had then invoked MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act) against him, which was later vacated by the court,” Indrajeet had said.
Meanwhile, the SIT said that all the arrests have been made on the basis of the statements collected from the family members of the victims and the residents.
The agency said they have recorded statements of over 1,000 people and went through at least 135 affidavits submitted to the Ranganath Mishra Commission, which was formed in 1986 by the then Congress government at the Centre to probe the riot cases in Delhi, Kanpur, and Bokaro.
A report prepared by an NGO also helped the agency to identify those involved in the riots, an official said.
In its over three years of investigation, the SIT has claimed to have established the involvement of 96 people in the riots. Among them 22 are dead.
“Among the 1,000 plus witnesses whose statement has been recorded, 174 are eyewitnesses in 11 cases being investigated by the SIT… We have collected oral evidence against the accused in the case,” said Bhushan, adding that there was very less chance to get scientific evidence against the accused as the cases are around 38 years old.
“The investigation is on, and we are still collecting evidence,” Bhushan added.
During the probe, SIT officials visited many states, including Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi to trace the witnesses and record their statements.
So far, the agency has got statements of 22 witnesses recorded before the magistrate. Witnesses, who had moved out of Kanpur, were brought to the city to get their statements recorded before the magistrate, said a senior official of SIT.
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, BJP govt constitutes SIT to examine all the 1,251 cases linked to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur
SIT shortlists 40 cases in which Kanpur police had filed chargesheets in 11 and submitted closure reports in 29
SIT seeks govt nod to appeal against a lower court’s verdict in 4 of the 11 cases. Of the 29 cases, SIT did not find evidence in 9 cases
Identifies 96 accused, 22 of them already dead
Arrests 6 persons in connection with a triple murder and loot, looking for 68 other accused