Jagdish Tytler at Manjeet Bullar Cavalry Gold Cup Polo 2010
|Minister of State|
|Born||11 January 1944|
Gujranwala, Punjab, British India
|Political party||Indian National Congress|
Jagdish Tytler (born 11 January 1944) is an Indian National Congress politician and former Member of Parliament. He has held several government positions, the last being as Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs, a post from which he resigned after publication of a report by an official commission of inquiry, known as the Nanavati Commission. The Commission had noted the balance of probability indicated he was involved in inciting and leading murderous mobs against the Sikh community in Delhi after Sikh bodyguards assassinated the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. He denies the charge.
Tytler was born on 11 January 1944 as Jagdish Kapoor in the Punjabi city of Gujranwala in British India. He was brought up by the educationist James Douglas Tytler, the founder of many public schools including the Delhi Public School and the Summer Fields School. In 2011, his entry into the Jagannath Temple at Puri, which is reserved only for Hindus, caused questions to be raised in the Odisha Legislative Assembly. Tytler denied having converted to Christianity, and stated that he had changed his name to show his gratitude towards James Douglas Tytler, who had brought him up.
Active in the Congress' youth organisation and a "disciple" of Sanjay Gandhi, he was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980. He served as a Union Minister first in the Civil Aviation department and then in the Labor department. He was re-elected in 1991 and served as the Union Minister of State for Surface Transport. In 2004, he was re-elected to the Lok Sabha.
1984 anti-Sikh riots
Tytler has been accused of involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in India, a charge that he denies. The riots had occurred after Sikh bodyguards assassinated Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Tytler stated that he was present at the funeral ceremony with Indira Gandhi's body and was in mourning at the time where these events occurred. No charges against Tytler have been proved till now.
In 2019, during an event Tytler made a statement about the controversy in the anti-Sikh riot cases and said "I do not understand why is this controversy. There were 5,000 people at the function, I was one of them. There is no FIR against me. CBI cleared me three times in its inquiry. You should ask the BJP if there is any FIR against me,".
On April, 2004 the Indian National Congress Party announced Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, R. K. Anand and others allegedly involved in the anti-Sikh riots, as its candidates for Indian Parliament elections for constituencies in and around Delhi. Sajjan Kumar, R. K. Anand, Darshan Shastri and H. K. L. Bhagat were accused by several independent commissions of inquiry of being complicit in the riots, including the People's Union for Civil Liberties, the People's Union for Democratic Rights and the Citizen's Justice Committee.
The report of the Nanavati Commission looking into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots said that Tytler "very probably" had a hand in organising the attacks. The then Congress-led Government of India, however, decided not to prosecute him or anyone else named in the report due to lack of concrete evidence.
Tytler, who had been appointed minister of state with independent charge of non-resident affairs, claimed innocence, saying that it was a case of mistaken identity. He said he had not been in the area at the time and that eight earlier commissions of inquiry had exonerated him. On 10 August 2005, he resigned from the Union Council of Ministers, stating that it was his "moral duty" to do so to prevent opposition parties making political capital out of the situation following release of the Nanavati report.
In 2004, lawyer H. S. Phoolka filed a case in the Ludhiana court against Tytler, accusing Tytler of defaming him during a television programme in the same year. In 2014, Phoolka declined an "unconditional apology" from Tytler as a proposed settlement. The court framed charges against Tytler in 2015. As of July 2018, no verdict had been reached.
Reopening of the case in 2007
India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) closed all cases against Tytler in November 2007 for his alleged criminal conspiracy to engineer riots against Sikhs in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination on 31 October 1984. The CBI submitted a report to the Delhi court which stated that no evidence or witness had been found to corroborate the allegations against Tytler of leading murderous mobs during 1984. It was also alleged in the court that Tytler, then a member of the Indian Parliament, was complaining to his supporters about relatively "small" number of Sikhs killed in his parliamentary constituency Delhi Sadar, which in his opinion had undermined his position in the ruling Indian National Congress party of India.
On 18 December 2007, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi court, Sanjeev Jain, who had earlier dismissed the case after the CBI's report to his court, ordered the CBI to reopen cases against Tytler relating to the riots.
In December 2008, a two-member CBI team was sent to New York to record the statements of two eyewitnesses, Jasbir Singh and Surinder Singh. The two witnesses have stated that they saw Tytler lead a mob during the riots, but did not want to come to India as they feared for their security.
"Clean chit" by CBI in 2009
In March 2009, the CBI filed its final report on investigation into the riots cases and cleared Jagdish Tytler. The BJP which was then in opposition alleged that "such a clean chit ahead of the elections" implied that the CBI had been misused. Hundreds of Sikh protestors gathered outside the Karkardooma courts and raised slogans against Tytler and other Congress party senior leaders allegedly involved in the riots.
On 7 April 2009, the then Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, had a shoe thrown at him by Jarnail Singh, a Sikh journalist, during a press conference in Delhi. Singh, who works at the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran, was dissatisfied with Chidambaram's answer to a question about the "clean chit" given to Tytler.
Denial of Lok Sabha ticket
After this shoe throwing incident, the Congress party dropped both Tytler and Sajjan Kumar as Congress candidates for the Lok Sabha elections of 2009. Tytler accused the media of victimizing him through a media trial. Tytler blamed the Shiromani Akali Dal and his "enemies" within the Congress party for scuttling his nomination.
2013 Sessions Court decision
In April 2013, a Sessions Court rejected the CBI report and ordered investigation against Tytler. Witnesses in the subsequent investigation have included Abhishek Verma and Amitabh Bachchan.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jagdish Tytler.|
- antisystemic.org, After Apology, Congress Tries to Scuttle Sikh Massacre Report