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Indian court sentences man to death, another to life over deadly 1984 anti-Sikh riots


NEW DELHI — A court in India has sentenced a man to death and another for life over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that left nearly 3,000 people dead, following the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi (pic), officials said Wednesday.

According to Xinhua news agency, the court pronounced the sentences on Tuesday, about 34 years after two men were killed by a mob during the riots.

“Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Pandey sentenced Yashpal Singh, 55, to death and Naresh Sherawat, 68, to life over the murder of two men in south Delhi’s Mahipalpur,” an official said.

The court also directed the duo to pay a penalty of US$49,086 (3.5 million Indian rupees) each.

Last week, the court held Naresh and Yashpal guilty of killing Hardev Singh and Avtar Singh on Nov 1, 1984 during the riots.

The convictions followed testimonials of Hardev’s brothers, Kuldeep Singh and Sangat Singh who had left Delhi with their family in 1985 and are now settled in a Jalandhar village.

Sikhs were targeted in the capital and elsewhere after Gandhi was assassinated by one of her Sikh bodyguards.

The assassination came four months after the storming by the Indian Army of the Golden Temple – the Sikhs’ holy shrine in Punjab’s Amritsar, where Sikh militants were fighting for an independent homeland.

The anti-Sikh violence lasted three days, with Hindu mobs hunting down Sikhs across India.

Chief Minister of northern Indian state of Punjab, Amarinder Singh welcomed the verdict.

“Welcome the first conviction by a Delhi court in the 1984 riots case. Justice has finally been meted out to the perpetrators of the heinous crimes,” Singh said in a statement.