November 5, 2011 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
New Delhi (November 05, 2011): The Supreme Court of India on Friday, November 4, upheld the sentence of life imprisonment awarded to former Punjab police personnel. These persons were found guilty of abducting and then killing human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra, who was probing the enforced disappearance of Sikhs and mass secret cremation of their bodies during mid-1980s to mid-1990s.
A bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and B. S. Chauhan said the trial court and Punjab and Haryana High Court orders convicting then deputy superintendent of police Jaspal Singh, head constable Prithpal Singh and sub-inspectors Satnam Singh and Jasbir Singh, who were posted at Taran Taran police station at the time of kidnapping and killing of Jaswant Singh Khalra, were right.
The court accepted Additional Solicitor General Mohan Jain’s contention that the HC judgment enhancing the sentences of the accused from seven years imprisonment to life term did not warrant any interference from the apex court.
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Chauhan said the trial court erred in convicting the accused only for abduction as it was inconceivable that they were not involved in Khalra’s murder as nobody saw him after police personnel abducted him on September 6, 1995.
Jain had argued that in such cases which shake the faith of common man in the law enforcing agencies, the courts should come down heavily and impose deterrent punishment on the perpetrators of crime.
During militancy in the state, Khalra was keeping the media informed about the abductions, extra-judicial killings and mass cremations by police. After his abduction and killing, the police had refused to register an FIR. Khalra’s widow Paramjit Kaur had petitioned the Supreme Court, which had ordered the CBI to investigate the case.
Though the CBI charge-sheeted the entire team posted at that time in Taran Taran police station, then senior superintendent of police Ajit Singh Sandhu committed suicide in 1997 before the trial court could frame charges against the accused.
Bibi Paramjeet Kaur Khalra, wife of Jaswant Singh Khalra told Sikh Siyasat Network that it was long and hard struggle to bring the culprits to face justice because of their powerful positions.
Bibi Paramjeet Kaur working hard to secure justice for the victims of mass cremations, the cause for which her husband laid his life.
Justice for JS Khalra but victims of mass cremations still awaiting justice
Ludhiana (November 5, 2011): Yesterday’s decision of Supreme Court of India brought justice for the family of Shaheed Jaswant Singh Khalra, who was subjected to enforced disappearance for his work on mass level human rights violations in Punjab. SCI has upheld the life sentences awarded to infamous cops responsible for killing JS Khalra. But the victims of “mass secret cremations” are still awaiting justice. Judiciary in India is relunct to take up such cases, apparently due to massive involvement of State machinery.
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Related Topics: Enforced Disappearence, Human Rights, Shaheed Jaswant Singh Khalra