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Is Jagdish Tytler really guilty?
Satbir Singh Bedi | 20 Apr 2009

The recent shoe hurling incident against Home Minister P Chidambaram has once again brought the issue of 1984 anti-sikh riots to the forefront. Is the alleged prime accused Jagdish Tytler really guilty?

AFTER THE shoe hurling at Home Minister P Chidambaram by Jarnail Singh, the whole of Punjab and Delhi got awakened to the reality that the perpetrators of the massacre of Sikhs have not yet been punished. The trains were stopped in Jalandhar and Ludhiana as groups of Sikhs came out and stood on the railway tracks blocking the movement of trains. They wanted to get Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar hanged for their role in the massacre of Sikhs in 1984.  

Meanwhile, Jagdish Tytler alleged that Jarnail Singh was an Akali and his action was motivated to prevent him from contesting the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.  However, Jarnail Singh maintained that he was not connected with any political party.
 
An important witness in the anti-sikh riots, Jasbir Singh, whom CBI had interrogated in USA to take his statement following his allegation that there was threat to his life in India, stated that during interrogation, the CBI behaved as if he and not Tytler, was the murderer of Sikhs.  He also alleged that the CBI had not recorded the statement of Resham Singh and Chain Singh, who were the other eyewitnesses in the case.  He further stated that CBI was not acting like an independent agency but was acting like a tool of the government. Other Sikh speakers also pointed this out and stated that CBI was not Central Bureau of Investigation but Congress Bureau of Investigation.
 
The Sikh backlash led Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi to call on Tytler and ask him to listen to his conscience and not to stand for Lok Sabha elections. However, in the press ponference held by Tytler, he insisted that he was innocent.  He produced papers after papers to prove that he was not there at the place of the incident and that there was no affidavit filed against him. He, however, said that in view of the embarrassment caused to the Congress party by the publicity given to the incident by the media and Akali Dal, he would not stand for elections if Sonia Gandhi told him to do so. Finally, Sonia Gandhi asked him to withdraw his candidature.   
 
Tytler continued to stress that Jasbir Singh was a proclaimed offender and had taken refuge in the US. That is why the latter was afraid to come to India.  However, Jasbir Singh asserted that he was not a proclaimed offender and there was even threat to his life from Tytler's goons in the US.   
 
This raises the question, "Is Jagdish Tytler really guilty?" Yes, he is certainly guilty if we are to go by the statement of my colleague, R Venkataraman, who was a desk officer in the department of food. Venkataraman told me that when he was private secretary to a deputy minister, Tytler and Gautam Kaul, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Delhi, came to his room to see the minister. It was then that the real character of Tytler came to the fore. He asked Kaul to realease a "friend" of his against whom a criminal case had been filed. Kaul, according to Venkataraman, told him that the "friend" of was involved in a criminal case of murder and was held under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). As such, Kaul expressed his helplessness to release Tytler's friend. From this, it is clear that the "friends" of Tytler are actually his goons, who work for him and it is these goons, who murdered the innocent Sikhs.   

Tytler's statement that Jasbir Singh was a proclaimed offender does not hold water as no one could have prevented CBI from claiming his extradition. So, in my opinion, Tytler is guilty and CBI should be instructed to investigate the case against him thoroughly.