Jagdish Tytler - Know This Man

Mar 27, 2006
Jagdish Tytler (b. January 11, 1944 as Jagdish Kapoor) is a controversial Indian politician, several times a Union Minister, he belongs to the ruling Indian National Congress party. He was the Indian Union Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs, a position he resigned from after an official commission of inquiry noted the 'balance of probability' indicated he was responsible for inciting and leading murderous mobs against the Sikh community in Delhi during the 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots, a charge he denies.

Early days

Tytler was born in Gujranwala (now in Pakistan), in a Kapoor family.[2] He was born to a Hindu father who died during post-independence India-Pakistan partition when he was a child and to a Sikh mother, Dayal Kaur who raised him alone under the Sikh traditions.[citation needed]. It is said that he lost his mother during the partition up on reaching Delhi, and he used to go Gurudwara every day with his elder brother, with belief that one day he will find his mother there, and eventually he found his mother.
He was brought up by the eminent educationist, James Douglas Tytler, who was the founder of many public schools including the Delhi Public School and the Summer Fields School.[2]

He was converted to Christianity by Mr James Douglas Tytler and he took his name.
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 case

The official report of the Nanavati Commission of the Government of India on the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots found some 'credible evidence' against Tytler, saying he 'very probably' had a hand in organising the attacks. The Indian government, however, decided not to prosecute Jagdish Tytler due to lack of sufficient concrete evidence.
Tytler claimed innocence and said that the evidence was a case of mistaken identity. Tytler had not been named by eight earlier inquiry commissions setup to investigate the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. On August 10, 2005, his resignation from the Union Council of Ministers was accepted by the President of India on the recommendation of Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh.
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. These members of parliament 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 G.T. Nanavati Commission, which is now looking into the riots, continues to receive affidavits from victims with details of the activities of Sajjan, Anand and Tytler. Tytler became minister of state with independent charge of non-resident affairs, a post which he relinquished under duress, following the Nanavati Commission's report.

Remarks against Phoolka

During an interview of Tytler and advocate H. S. Phoolka on NDTV in 2004, Tytler had accused Phoolka of blackmailing him and demanding money from him[3]. Phoolka had filed the case at the Ludhiana court against Tytler accusing him of making defamatory remarks in programmes telecast on NDTV news channel. Harvinder Singh Phoolka, a senior advocate is noted for spearheading legal battle to gain justice for the victims of 1984 Anti-Sikh massacre[4].
Recently, Tytler was granted bail in defamation case filed by Phoolka[5].

Reopening of the case in 2007

India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) closed all cases against Jagdish Tytler in November 2007 for his alleged criminal conspiracy to engineer riots against Sikhs in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984. CBI submitted a report to the Delhi court which stated that no evidence or witness was found to corroborate the allegations against Tytler of leading murderous mobs during 1984 [1].[6] It was also alleged in the court that then member of the Indian Parliament Jagdish Tytler 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 [2].
However in December 2007, a witness Jasbir Singh, who lives in California, appeared on several private television news channels in India, and stated that he was never contacted by Central Bureau of Investigation. India's main opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded an explanation from the minister in charge of CBI in Indian Parliament. However, Minister of State for Personnel Suresh Pachouri, who is in charge of department of CBI, and was present in the parliament session refused to make a statement.[7]
On December 18 2007, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi court Mr. Sanjeev Jain, who had earlier dismissed the case after CBI submitted a misleading report in his court; ordered India's Central Bureau of Investigation to reopen cases relating to 1984 Anti-Sikh riots against Jagdish Tytler.[8]

December 2008

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 Jagdish Tytler lead a mob during the riots, but did not want to come to India as they feared for their security.[9]

Clean chit by CBI in 2009

In March 2009, when the CBI filed its final report on investigation into the riots case involving Jagdish Tytler, the BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar alleged that the "such a clean chit ahead of the elections" implied CBI has been misused.[10] Hundreds of Sikh protestors gathered outside the Karkardooma courts and raised slogans against Tytler and other senior leaders allegedly involved in the riots.[10]

Shoeing incident instigated by clean chit to Tytler

On 7 April 2009, India's home minister P. Chidambaram was shoed by Jarnail Singh, a Sikh journalist during a press conference in Delhi on the issue of clean chit to Jagdish Tytler. Singh, who works at the Hindi daily Dainik Jagaran was dissatisfied with Chidamabaram's answer to a question on the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) clean chit to Jagdish Tytler on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.[11]

Denial of Lok Sabha ticket

Initially, congress was reluctant to withdraw ticket to Tytler. But after this shoe throwing incident, Congress party indicated that they were reviewing the candidatures of Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar. But Tytler was of the view that this issue is not going to affect his candidature[12] from North East Delhi in Loksabha 2009 elections[13].
Congress calculated politically that all the media controversy created after the shoe throwing incident could make it lose more seats. Fearing further controversy, Congress dropped both Tytler and Sajjan Kumar as congress candidates from Lok Sabha 2009 elections[14]. Jadgish Tytler accused the media of victimizing him through a media trial. He also blamed the Shiromani Akali Dal and his enemies within the Congress party for scuttling his nomination[15].