BEFORE JUSTICE NANAVATI COMMISSION OF INQUIRY

( Witness No : 7 )

Name : Shri Khushwant Singh, S/o Sardar Bahadur Sir Sobha Singh
Age : 86 Years
Occupation : Writer
Address : E-49, Sujan Singh Park, New Delhi

On SA

I have filed an affidavit dated 21.09.2000 before this Commission (the affidavit is taken on record and marked as exhibit No. W7/1). My affidavit may be treated as my examination-in-chief. I further say that, I was the member of the Rajya Sabha from 1980 to 1986. I was a nominated member. At that Mrs. Gandhi was the Prime Minister. I did not have close relationship with the family but the family was quite known to us. During the earlier part of emergency we were on visiting terms. With reference to the incident of burning taxi stand I further say that at that time I had seen about 30 policemen standing on the road in two rows. One Inspector and Sub-Inspector of Police were also there. The policemen had not tried to prevent the mob from burning the taxi stand but they were simply watching the incident.

I knew President Zail Singh since many years. I was informed by my son-in-law who was then informed by the officers monitoring the mob that a mob was on its way to my house. I rang up President Gaini Zail Singh. My son-in-law was informed by Shri Salman Haider. Who later on become Foreign Secretary and High Commissioner in UK. My son-in-law is not a sikh. His name is Ravi Dayal. I rang up the Secretary of the President and told him that I wanted to talk to the President if I could get any help from him. After sometime I was told by his Secretary that the President could not come on the phone and advised we to go to a house of a Hindu. The Secretary at that time was Shri Trilochan Singh, Vice-Chairman of the Minorities Commission. Having noticed inaction of the police I had thought it pointless to ask the police for help. I though if I called the police the mob would soon be upon me. I have written numerous articles about what is stated in my affidavit and I had experienced during the time of 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots. In the first article that I wrote that I felt like a refugee in my own country and like a Jew in Nazi Germany. I was very pained as I had not seen any such riot earlier where so many innocent Sikhs were killed only because of a crime committed by two or three Sikhs persons. I had felt that the violence which had taken during those two or three days was quite organized and probably Government of the day had a hand in it.

Cross examination by Shri S.S.Gandhi, Senior Advocate on behalf of Delhi Police

My house is opposite of Ambassodor Hotel. I am staying in a flat. From my flat I cannot see the road just outside our complex but I could see the gate in front of which the road between our flats and Ambassodor Hotel runs. Whatever I had seen had been seen by me after I had come to the gate on 31st October, 1984 evening. Khan Market is on the left of my house. The distance between my gate and Khan Market is 50 yards. From near the gate I could see two sides of the Khan Market. The shops which I have referred in para 1 of my affidavit were situated on the front side of the Khan Market. It is wrong to say that no shops were set on fire in Khan Market. It is wrong to say that shutters of two or three shops only were broken and were looted. I visited the shops after two or three days and I found charred remains of wooden shelves. The policemen who were standing were ten yards away from me and it being dark I could not identify them. It is unknow to me that the police immediately reached the place where the shops were looted and disperse the crowd.

Question :

I put up to you that the crowd which was indulging in looting the shops at Khan Market were dispersed by the policemen present there and while running when they set the taxis on fire at the taxi stand and then police followed them also.

Answer :

I do not accept the suggestion. I had seen police doing nothing. The same mob was on rampage and it had burnt the taxi stand.

I had myself witnessed the incident referred to by me in para 4 of my affidavit. From behind the hedge of our compound I had seen that incident. The crowd was burning 3 or 4 cars which were in the garage of Shri Sukhwant Singh. They had also attacked the Gurudwara. While I was watching all these the Hindu residents of my complex had come to me and told me to get back into my flat as there was danger to my life if I was seen by the mob. The crowd was shouting slogans ‘KHOON KE BADLA KHOON SE LENGE’.

I do not know the number of incidents that had taken place in my area on 31st October, 1984. I would not know if the police after coming to know about the incident had reached those places and tried to disperse the crowd from those places. I would not know if the crowd had run away on police dispersing them and while receding they damaged what ever came their way, with the police following them.

No Cross examination by Shri K.K.Sud, ASG on behalf of Central Government.

Read over and found correct

 

(Khushwant Singh)                                                                                                    ( G.T. NANAVATI )

9th May, 2001                                                                                                               9th May, 2001