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Human Rights Bodies Condemn Punjab DGP’s Move Seeking External Interference Against Criminal Trails of Accused Cops

September 10, 2018 | By

Amritsar: Various human rights groups, namely: Punjab Documentation and Advocacy Project (PDAP), Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO), Khalra Mission Organisation (KMO) and Committee for Coordination on Disappearances in Punjab (CCDP) have issued a joint statement condemning Punjab DGP Suresh Arora’s move urging the Central government of India to influence judicial proceedings against Punjab police personnel who are facing trial for committing serious crimes under the garb of counter-insurgency operations during 1980s to 90s.

DGP Suresh Arora [File Photo]

The written statement issued by these groups reads as follows:

Punjab DGP Suresh Arora has claimed that cases against Punjab police officers during the insurgency and counter-insurgency period should be withdrawn and a “sympathetic view” should be taken against those police officers currently facing trial for murder, abduction, torture, extortion, coercion, fabricating evidence and secretly and illegally cremating dead bodies as “unclaimed and unidentified”.

This joint press note condemns any external attempts made by the Punjab Government, Central Government, or Punjab Police to interfere with the judicial process and prosecutions which were undertaken by the CBI nearly two decades ago, and are finally reaching their concluding stages.

The victims have waited endlessly over 26 years for these trials to conclude, which have been delayed by the manipulation of legal procedures by certain accused police officers.

In 2016, the Supreme Court finally determined that prosecution sanction was not required in these cases as the CBI had found that there was clear evidence of extra-judicial killings.

It is therefore totally improper and illegal for any external pressure to interfere in the judicial processes of these criminal cases.

We take serious issue, with the contention that a “sympathetic view” should be taken towards any person charged with the most heinous criminal offences, which are aggravated by the perpetrators doing so in police uniform. The majority of the accused police officers in these cases have never been dismissed from service and have enjoyed all the perks, salaries, and in many cases pensions throughout their entire career. By contrast, the victim families have suffered in abject poverty, with the main breadwinner of their family having been murdered in cold blood. Those families are entitled to justice and have high expectations that the courts now hearing and determining these cases will deliver justice, aSer an agonising two decades, without any outside interference.

We remind the Chief Minister of Punjab, his public commitments to the victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances that his government would investigate these cases, prosecute offenders and rehabilitate the families. We have every expectation that justice will be done and will be seen to be done.

Finally, we urge the Punjab Government and Chief Minister of Punjab to recommend candidates of integrity and honesty for the position of DGP, who are not tainted by extra-judicial killings, human rights violations or the nexus between certain elements in the Punjab Police and the destructive drugs trade in Punjab. Such appointments should be free from political influence.

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