:: Delhi Massacres ::

Massacre of Sikhs - 1984

In November 1984 following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, mobs lead by Congress leaders committed murder, loot, arson and rape, across India for over a week, however the worst effected area was the capital of India Delhi.

Due to the large span of area the actual number of those dead is unknown, official figures of those who died are over 4000 and 60,000 were rendered homeless in Delhi alone, these figures to not incorporate those “missing”.

“India is ablaze with hate and anger. In city after city from one corner of the country to the other enraged mobs have gone and are going about systematically burning and looting Sikh properties and assaulting Sikhs without discrimination.” 1The Times of India

“Sikhs were sought out and burned to death. Children were killed, shops looted, cars burnt, markets destroyed, houses gutted. Trains were stopped and Sikhs were picked out and murdered.” Akbar M.J.

“Around 300 Sikh officers and men in uniform were done to death in the presence of non-Sikh soldiers, who stood as silent spectators.” 2 Economic and Political Weekly

Police officers “
stood by and watched arson, rape, looting and murder, without making any attempt to intervene to protect citizens brlonging to the Sikh minority, without attempting to dissuade the attackers to call for reinforcements or other support, or even to inform the fire brigade.” 3 Independent Report

“Many people complained that, in some cases, the police were not merely hanging back, but giving active support.” 4 The Times

“We started from the foot paths after the 1947 Partition, now we get back to it in our old age” wept an old couple, they had been deprived of all their belongings and also a young son.

1 The Times of India November 2 1984
2 Economic and Political Weekly – Thapar, Ramesh.
3 Who are the Guilty? - Report PUCL and PUDR
4 The Times, 5 Nov 1984


In April 2004 the Congress Party announced Sajjan Kumar Jagdish Tytler, Ajay Makan, R K Anand and others allegedly involved in the Delhi massacres of Sikhs, as standing for elections in and around Delhi.

These individuals now standing in elections as members of parliament were indicted by independent commissions of inquiry, including the People's Union for Civil Liberties, the People's Union for Democratic Rights and the Citizens' Justice Committee.

Numerous affidavits have been filed against the politicians for their role in inciting mobs. The G.T. Nanavati Commission, which is now looking into the riots, continues to receive affidavits from victims with details of the activities of Sajjan , Makan, Anand and Tytler at that time. Both Tytler and Kumar have won seats in the 2004 elections and are now members of parliament of the ruling party in India, the Congress. The non-resident affairs ministry has been given to Jagdish Tytler, who will be minister of state with an independent charge and will be dealing with NRI’s.

Jagdish Tytler
Jagdish Tytler
’84 riots: Tytler ‘led’ mob

New Delhi, January 17 2002

The Tribune

Senior Congress leader Jagdish Tytler had led a mob that killed two Sikhs at a gurdwara in the walled city and also burnt the shrine during the 1984 riots, an eyewitness told the Justice Nanavati Commission today.Mr Surinder Singh, who was the then Head Granthi of Gurdwara Pulbangash near Azad Market, said the mob, led by Congress M.P. Jagdish Tytler, attacked the shrine a day after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

“He incited the mob to burn the gurdwara and kill Sikhs,” the witness said in an affidavit filed before the commission probing the riots that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

The mob carrying lathis, iron rods and kerosene attacked the gurdwara and set it on fire on being incited by Mr Tytler, he said.

The rioters, he said, killed Thakur Singh, a retired Delhi police Inspector who was an employee of the gurdwara management committee. The mob also burnt alive Badal Singh, a gurdwara “sewadar”, by putting a burning tyre around his neck, he added.

The witness told the commission that rioters were raising slogans like “khoon ka badla khoon se lenge,” “Sardar gaddar hain”, “Mar do jala do”. Some people in the mob were carrying Congress flags, he added.

“I was watching the entire incident helplessly from the top floor of the gurdwara. The gurdwara was set on fire but the blaze had not reached the top floor,” he said.

Mr Surinder Singh said he and his family members were rescued by some Muslim neighbours in the night. After a week, when he returned to his house, he found that his house was also looted by the mob.

Mr Tytler, he said, came back to the gurdwara on November 10 and asked him to put his signatures on “two sheets of paper which I refused to sign.” Social activist Jaya Shrivastava, who also appeared before the commission today, said on the basis of her post-riot visits to various colonies and camps in the Capital she concluded that the communal violence was “organised”.

Ms Shrivastava said: “Most colonies were attacked at about the same time, means for killing and arson were readily available, and in most cases the police played a dubious role”.

The Sikhs had removed name plates from their houses to avoid the fury of rioters, but surprisingly the mobs reached the particular houses with certainty, the witness told the panel.

In all, there seemed to be a “sickening methodology” behind the “intensely tragic” episode, she said.

'84 riot victim accuses Jagdish Tytler of instigating violence

A victim of the anti-Sikh riots on Monday submitted before the Nanawati Commission, probing the violence after Indira Gandhi's assassination in 1984, that former Union minister Jagdish Tytler had instigated a mob in a west Delhi locality that killed his son, nephew and brother-in-law.

"Instead of saving them, Jagdish Tytler told the persons who had come along with him to Kabir Basti that 'one Sikh killed my mother (meaning Indira Gandhi) and these Sikhs are moving quietly', riot victim and an ex-armyman Dilbagh Singh said in an affidavit filed through his counsel Bajrang Singh.

"On hearing this, the persons, who had come along with Tytler (on November 1, 1984) started catching hold of Sikhs, killing and burning them, including his brother-in-law Darshan Singh, son Surinder Pal Singh and nephew Jagjit Singh," the affidavit alleged.

When Tytler visited the locality, then Assistant Commissioner of Police Bhagwan Singh Malik and Station House Officer of Subzi Mandi police station were present there along with a pose of armed personnel, it claimed.

Darshan Singh's wife, who visited Kabir Basti next day, had lodged a complaint at Subzi Mandi police station on November 2, 1984, the affidavit said

The Delhi high court, earlier this year, had dismissed a petition by Dilbagh Singh seeking registration of a separate case regarding the killing of his kin saying that there was no sufficient evidence on record.


Gurcharan Singh Babbar, who has penned several books on the Delhi riots, described the Congress decision to nominate Jagdish Tytler as shocking.

"We had hoped that better sense would prevail and the Congress would deny nomination to tainted political leaders. What is shocking all the more is the way the CBI went out of its way to oblige Tytler. Look at the timing of the clearance given by the court. Don't you think this smacks of complicity on the part of the investigating agency?" asks Babbar.

"When Justice Anil Dev Singh passed orders against Tytler he had specifically asked the CBI to locate a particular first information report filed by some of the victims. This FIR was at the Sabji Mandi police station. But the CBI, instead of looking for that file, told the court that it could not be located. How can the file be located when the police officers were themselves involved in the riots?

"According to the report filed by the anti-riot cell, more then 72 police officers were directly involved and were liable for action for remaining silent spectators while the mobs were looting, burning and killing Sikhs. We have an affidavit by one of the organisers wherein he specifically mentions that Tytler was one of the perpetrators, and he was personally leading mobs and getting Sikhs killed in various parts of Delhi. Now we are told that he had no role. Then to rub the salt into the wounds, he is nominated!" Babbar said in disgust.
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