The Supreme Court announced on January 10, 2018 that it will appoint a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by a former high court judge, to examine 186 cases that took place during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The riots were a series of anti-Sikh pogroms that took place after the assassination of then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.
A bench, comprising of Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud and headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra asked the Centre to recommend names for consideration for the proposed Special Investigation Team (SIT) by today itself.
The SC’s decision is a follow-up to the report submitted by a supervisory committee of retired justices KPS Radhakrishnan and JM Panchal. The report stated that out of 293 cases from the anti-Sikh riots, 186 cases were closed by the original SIT without investigation. The new SIT will suggest if these cases demand re-opening or a chargesheet.
The Radhakrishnan-Panchal panel was asked to determine if the original SIT's decision to close these cases was justified. The Narendra Modi government appointed the original SIT in February, 2015 that was headed by IPS officer Pramod Asthana. Other members of the panel were ex-district judge Rakesh Kapoor and a police officer Kumar Gyanes.
The anti-Sikh riots broke out after the then PM's Sikh bodyguards assassinated Indira Gandhi. It lasted for three days and claimed the lives of close to 3000 people. Gandhi’s assassination was seen as a result of Operation Blue Star, a military operation ordered by Gandhi to establish control over the complex of Harmandir Sahib Complex in Amritsar. The operation was also targeted at removing alleged militant religious leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his militant armed followers from the shrine’s complex.