- Sajjan Kumar was in the Congress for over four decades
- He has been sentenced for life in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case
- His first election victory was as a municipal councillor in 1977
Sajjan Kumar, sent to jail for life yesterday for his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, has written to Congress president Rahul Gandhi that he is quitting the party.
"I tender my resignation with immediate effect from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress in the wake of the judgement of the high court of Delhi against me," Sajjan Kumar said in the letter to Rahul Gandhi, according to the Press Trust of India.
An aide of Sajjan Kumar said he did not want the party to face any embarrassment and decided to quit soon after the court order. This morning, the three-time parliamentarian was seen at a popular Hanuman temple near Connaught place in the heart of Delhi.
The 73-year-old was in the Congress for over four decades. In the last few years, he had been sidelined by the party over allegations that he had led blood-thirsty mobs targeting Sikhs in Delhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.
Sajjan Kumar's first election victory was as a municipal councilor in 1977. He won his first Lok Sabha election from the Outer Delhi constituency and retained it in two subsequent elections. In 2009, the Congress refused to field him as a candidate, accused by the BJP of "shielding" its 1984 riots accused leaders.
Yesterday, the Delhi High Court sentenced him to jail "for the remainder of his natural life", cancelling an earlier court order acquitting him.
Sajjan Kumar was convicted in the killing of five members of a family in Raj Nagar and the torching of a gurdwara in Delhi on November 1, 1984. He has been asked to surrender by December 31.
"It is important to assure the victims that despite the challenges truth will prevail," the High Court said, praising victims like Jagdish Kaur and Nirpreet Kaur who fought for justice for 34 years.
At least 3,000 people were killed in the riots. Sajjan Kumar, a former MP from Delhi, is the first big leader of the party to be convicted.
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