On 24 March, the Supreme Court directed Union Government to submit the files of 199 cases related to 1984 Anti-Sikh riots wrapped up by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was setup to re-investigate the case. An investigation is due to ascertain the reason behind closing the cases.
The step has been taken after petitioners from Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee and other private bodies raised the concern.
The three-judge Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra asked Mukul Rohatgi, the Attorney General, to produce the files within three weeks and gave another day of hearing on April 25.
This order was given despite Rohatgi’s claims that everything was transparent in the SIT’s decision to close the cases, and 62 of cases were untraced.
The Narendra Modi government had set up a SIT to reinvestigate the anti-Sikh riot cases of 1984 which have been closed. After two years, the SIT could only probe into 59 cases and had filed a charge-sheet in four.
A total of 3,325 people were killed in the riots including 2,733 deaths in Delhi, and the rest occurred in Haryana, UP, Maharashtra, and other States.
Observing the past two years, the SIT closed 199 criminal cases in connection with 293 cases handed over to them in 2015. The team comprised judicial officer and two Inspector General-rank IPS officers. This team was set up on 12 February 2015, after the recommendation by Home Ministry.
The court observed its intent to focus on the 199 cases in respect of the decision taken by SIT to not to launch a prosecution.
Arvind Data, the Senior Advocate, appeared for the petitioners and clarified that only four charge sheets had been filed of the 293 cases and no closure reports were filed in the court of the 199 cases.
The SIT submitted a report in the Supreme Court justifying that 35 cases were sent to a preliminary enquiry, and 28 out of them have been completed. The remaining are pending for consideration. 59 were sent for further probe, out of which 42 were closed, and 13 were pending investigation. Charge sheets have been filed against four cases.
Due to lack of evidence, the Delhi Police closed 241 cases. The Justice Nanavati Commission had recommended reopening any four cases, and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) acted as per the recommendation. A charge sheet was also filed against one instance, and five persons including a former MLA were convicted.
Sajjan Kumar, the Congress leader, was also questioned by the SIT about his connection in the case. It was alleged that he instigated the mob in Janakpuri on 1 November 1984, which led to the killing of two Sikh brothers- Sohan Singh and Avtar Singh.
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots, which flared up after the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, left around 3,000 people dead.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.