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Brutal killings of Sikhs in Pilibhit Jail: After 22 years DSGMC, SGPC to file petitions

May 11, 2016 | By

Chandigarh: The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee have announced, in separate statements, to approach India’s Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court of India (SCI) respectively, seeking justice for eight Sikhs who were tortured to death by jail staff in Pilibhit district jail in 1994 and 21 others who had sustained serious injuring in this blind show of brutality.

Sukhwant Kaur, whose brothers-in-law were among 28 beaten up in jail, with family | Photo Credits: The Tribune

Sukhwant Kaur, whose brothers-in-law were among 28 beaten up in jail, with family | Photo Credits: The Tribune

The announcements came after 22 years of the incident after the issue was highlighted by an English vernacular in last issues of newspaper.

SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said that he has also written letters to the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Home minister Rajnath Singh appeasing them about the incident and seeking justice for the victims. He said that the SGPC will file a petition in the Supreme court of India.

The DSGMC chief Manjit Singh GK has announced to file a petition with India’s Human Rights commission in this case.

Pilibhit jail killings case:

Pilibhit jail killings is a clear example of Indian state’s police of impunity for culprits of brutal human rights abusers.

On the intervening night of November 8 and 9, 1994 twenty-eight Sikhs detained under TADA were brutally beaten up by jail staff led by the then jail superintendent Vidhyachal Singh Yadav. Six persons were brought dead to the Pilibhit District Hospital and one critically injured Vichitra Singh was referred to King George Medical College in Locknow where he died 12 days later. The remaining 21 persons, who were injured in this incident and were admitted to the hospital with serious injuries were sent back to the prison after they recovered.

A case was registered against the jail staff under murder charges but it was withdrawn by the UP government in 2007.

According the The Tribune (TT) (May 9, 2016): The jail authorities had then claimed that the TADA detainees had been injured and some of them died in a clash with the jail staff, “who had aborted their bid to escape from jail”.

However, the then Pilibhit bureau chief of Hindi daily Amar Ujala, Vishwamitra Tandon, recalls that the bodies and the condition of the injured prisoners suggested no such clash. “It was clearly a one-sided affair where the jail staff had suffered superficial injuries while the prisoners had been tied and beaten to death or incapacitated. The first edition of my newspaper had given a headline which spoke of TADA prisoners dying in a clash with the jail staff. I persuaded my office to change the headline, calling it outright custodial killing,” remembers Tandon.

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