October 28, 2023 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
SAS Nagar, Punjab (October 28, 2023): A Mohali court on Friday (27 October) pronounced judgment in another 1992 fake encounter case and convicted one former police official for preparing false records.
The case was related to kidnapping, illegal confinement and then killing of Daljit Singh resident of Khiala, Amritsar.
In this matter in 1994 Kashmir Singh father of Daljit Singh filed writ before the High Court alleging that he along with his sons Baljit Singh and Rajwant Singh were picked on 13.12.1992 from their residence by police party headed by Dharam Singh SHO Lopoke and then on their information his third son namely Daljit Singh was taken into custody from the residence of his relative at Nai Abadi, Amritsar. It was stated in the writ that he and his two sons were released after a few days but his third son Daljit Singh was not released. It was demanded in the writ that Daljit be produced before the court. Upon notice of SSP Majitha, SHO Lopoke filed a reply before high court but denied picking and abduction of Daljit Singh.
In 1996 High Court ordered judicial inquiry from District & Sessions Judge Amritsar during which it came on record that police had shown Daljit Singh killed in encounter on 29.12.1992 alongwith one Jagir Singh son of Thakur Singh resident of Awan Lakha Singh. Judicial inquiry found allegations of Kashmir Singh True and recommended for independent probe. However before that in 1995 Apex court ordered CBI inquiry into the matter of cremation of large scale dead bodies as unclaimed, therefore the matter of Daljit Singh was also taken by the CBI and therefore petition of Kashmir Singh was disposed off with direction to pay compensation to Kashmir Singh. In 1997 CBI registered the case on complaint of Kashmir Singh and in the year 2001 CBI filed charge-sheet Against Dharam Singh, Tarsem Singh, Swaran Singh and Avtar Singh kidnapping , illegal confinement murder and fabrication of record but trial of this case remained stayed till 2016 due to petitions filed by the accused before higher courts and finally today CBI court of Sh Rakesh Kumar Gupta pronounced the judgment. In this case 17 witnesses recorded their statements during trial and 8 died during trial.
In September 2023 Jagir Singh who was shown as killed with Daljit Singh appeared before the court which changed the whole situation and a question arises, who had been killed in place of Jagir Singh.
Today court acquitted Dharam Singh but convicted Tarsem Lal then In-charge of CIA Majitha for the offense u/s 218 IPC. In this case two accused namely Swaran Singh and Avtar Singh had died during trial.
The court has fixed 3 November as the next court date to pronounce sentence in this case.
It is notable that Indian security forces, including Punjab police, were indulged in wide-spread and systematic human rights abuses in 1980s-90s. Enforced disappearances, custodial torture and death, fake encounters were common policing practice during that period.
Jaswant Singh Khalra, a human rights activist had unearthed a wide-spread practice of systematic extra-judicial killings and secret cremations of innocent Sikhs, including youth as well as aged men and women. Jaswant Singh Khalra had presented documentary evidence, cremation ground record, to establish the fact that the security forces were killing Sikhs in fake encounters and their dead bodies were being secretly cremated as ‘unidentified/ unclaimed dead bodies’. Jaswant Singh Khalra had to lay his life for unearthing these abuses as he was also subjected to enforced disappearance and was killed secretly by the Punjab cops.
The Supreme Court of India (SCI) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India have recognized the fact that at least 2097 extra-judicially killed Sikhs were cremated in three cremation grounds – Durgyana Mandir, Tarn Taran and Patti. Near kin of victims were granted some compensation in these cases but the guilty cops were not proceeded against.
Except some specific cases, the human rights abuses in Punjab largely remain uninvestigated and the culprits are enjoying powerful positions, which is evident from the fact that Punjab police chief himself is facing serious charges of human rights violations – including murder of innocent persons.
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