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Encounter killing of 10 Sikhs; UP cops sentenced to 7 years in prison!

LUCKNOW: On Thursday, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court found 43 Uttar Pradesh policemen guilty and sentenced them to seven years in solitary confinement with no possibility of parole for the 1991 ‘cold-blooded’ extrajudicial murder of 10 men on the pretext that they were Khalistani terrorists. Police are not required to murder suspects just because they are feared criminals. The HC acknowledged that police must detain suspects and bring them to justice, but granted the officers some relief by overturning a 2016 ruling by the Lucknow CBI court that had found them guilty of murder.

A jury composed of Justices Ramesh Sinha and Saroj Yadav found the 43 guilty of violating IPC Section 304, which imposes a less severe penalty than murder. ‘ There is no question that the appellants went beyond the scope of the legal authority granted to them, and they killed the dead by acting in a way that they really believed to be legal and essential for the proper performance of their duties. In these circumstances, the appellants’ crime was culpable homicide that did not amount to murder’, the bench ruled.

47 police officers were found guilty by the CBI court and given life sentences. Against their conviction, they appealed. In the meanwhile, four officers lost their lives. On the Supreme Court’s instructions, the CBI looked into the matter. According to the CBI, the killings were carried out with the intention of winning honours and acclaim for having killed ‘terrorists’. The case originated at a period when militancy-related incidents increased dramatically in the Terai region of the state.

On July 12, 1991, a police posse halted a luxury bus transporting Sikh pilgrims and ordered 10 of the passengers to disembark based on what seemed to be intelligence information. Those males were allegedly driven to a bush and shot in ‘cold blood,’ according to the charge sheet. The next day, the police said that 10 Khalistani terrorists had been killed.

The HC stated, ‘The assertion of the appellants that they killed 10 terrorists in self-defense does not comport with the medical findings’. It did, however, point out weaknesses in the defense’s case. ‘The prosecution failed to show the facts that the police officials had kidnapped or abducted 10–11 Sikh individuals and then, by creating a criminal conspiracy with a common goal, split them into three groups and murdered them at three distinct locations.’


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