May 19, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court on Thursday set July 7 as deadline for the Uttar Pradesh government to file its response in relation to a petition seeking reopening of a case related to 1994 massacre of 7 Sikhs in Pilibhit jail. Last year the court had asked the then Uttar Pradesh government to file an explanation as to why the criminal charges against 42 Pilibhit jail staff who massacred seven Sikh prisoners in the jail and seriously injured another 21 were withdrawn, but the UP government did not file any reply in this case.
As reported by the media a Division Bench of High Court comprising Justices Ramesh Sinha and Umesh Chandra Srivastava took up the petition of Sukhveer Singh, Gurnam Singh, Harjindar Singh Kahlon and others, challenging the 42 jail officials going scot-free after the withdrawal of the Crime Branch (Crime Investigation Department) inquiry against them.
Media reports indicate that, separate notices are being sent to all 42 accused in the case, including the then jail superintendent Vindhyachal Singh Yadav, his deputy and 40 jail constables, The court allowed the application for adding certain parties in the Sukhveer Singh and others case against the 42 accused persons then posted in the Pilibhit jail.
It was way back in November 1994 that a police party lead by the then Jail Superintendent, Vindhyachal Singh Yadav, mercilessly tortured seven Sikh TADA prisoners to death in their custody.
Six of the convicts were recorded to have been “brought dead” to the Pilibhit District Hospital over a period of 12 hours while critically injured Vichitra Singh, who was referred to King George Medical College in Lucknow, succumbed to his injuries 12 days later. The remaining 21 convicts with serious injuries were hospitalised and sent back to the prison after recovery, reports The Tribune (TT).
The then state chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav ordered a CB-CID probe against the 42 guilty jail staff. On January 24, 1995, a chargesheet was filed against jail superintendent vindhyachal Singh Yadav and 41 others.
But after coming to power in September 2003 Mulayam Singh Yadav while taking a dramatic U turn on this case in 2007 had clandestinely invoked Section 321 of the CrPC to withdraw the cases against the accused. This was in contradiction to an earlier order of the Department of Home issued (January 16, 1995) by the Principal Secretary, Jails, on the orders of the Governor by means of which sanction for the prosecution of PCS officer Vindhyachal Singh was granted under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code,1973.