Thursday, December 31, 2009

'Mad' cop gets life for killing 6 during anti-Sikh riots

Rakesh Bhatnagar / DNA

New Delh:
An “insane” cop, who turned Ram to Ravan within minutes and shot dead six members of the Sikh community at a police station during the 1984 riots, was given life by the Allahabad high court recently.

The court upheld a trial court judgment delivered two years ago on July 30, saying Tilak Ram acted out of rage, not insanity, as claimed.

A group of Sikhs running from a blood-thirsty mob near Meerut had sought refuge at a police station where Ram was posted 25 years ago, at about 3.50 am on November 5, 1984. His job was to protect the community under fire after the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi. But in the heat of the moment, Ram snatched a rifle from one of his colleagues, loaded it and fire at the group, killing six and injuring three.

After emptying the rifle, his defence was that he was overpowered by a deity. He said he was mentally unstable and had suffered a schizophrenic attack. Justices Rakesh Tiwari and AK Roopanwal said the unrepentant Ram indeed acted in an insane manner just as thousands of others across the country did during the anti-Sikh riots and scrapped his appeal against the trial court judgment delivered after almost a 22-year-long trial.

Ram acted out of anger, not insanity, the judges said, adding that it was cold-blooded execution of Sikhs who had taken shelter in police station.

It was an ugly expression of communal hatred against Sikhs who were being held responsible for the “treacherous” murder of the then PM of India, “undoubtedly, a tall and widely-popular political personality adorned by millions”.

Cop Ram’s act was not a “sequestered, isolated or unconnected incident having no nexus with the social and political atmosphere around”.

“Instead, it was a just another instance of Sikh killing, the like of which had happened and were happening at that time all over the country. It was not a schizophrenic act. It was, in fact, an act which had direct bearing with assassination of the late Mrs Indira Gandhi and its aftermath communal outrage [sic],” the court said.

Thousands of people who indulged in large-scale arson, loot and murder of Sikhs at that time did not suffer from schizophrenia or any other mental ailment, which may be termed legal insanity, HC said, adding that their insanity was only in the figurative sense of the term and denoted a highly-irrational behaviour.

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