April 4, 2016 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: On Friday, a CBI court convicted 47 policemen from Uttar Pradesh in a fake encounter in Pilibhit in 12 July 1991, in which 11 Sikh pilgrims were killed by Cops in cold blood. They were supposed to be sentenced today. However, in a shocking development 27 of those 47 policemen have reportedly gone missing.
It is notable that on the day of decision (April 1) only 20 persons were present in the courtroom who were sent to the custody by the trial court. The court had issued non bailable warrants of 27 accused who were absent on Friday (April 1).
A Times of India news report notes that “many of these cops have disappeared after taking long leaves. Others who had retired from service during the 25-year-long trial have gone underground.”
According to the prosecution, the case dates back to 1991 when the state’s Terai region witnessed a surge in militancy-related incidents.
A local Hindi daily had published a report stating that some people involved in criminal activities were on a pilgrimage with their family members. Acting on the news, police “collected details” and found that “a group of men” along with some women were on pilgrimage. They were travelling in a bus, which had obtained temporary permit from the regional transport office in Bareilly, notes Indian Express.
According to CBI, the bus was on its way to Pilibhit on July 12, when a police team stopped it at Kachlapul ghat. Eleven Sikh men were allegedly dragged out of the vehicle. The other passengers, including women and children, were taken to a Gurdwara in Pilibhit while the men were made to sit in another vehicle. Late in the evening, additional force joined the police team and they divided the Sikh men in three groups.
On the intervening night of July 12 and 13, the policemen gunned down the Sikh men in three encounters in the thickets falling under three different police station areas — Bilsanda, Niuria and Pooranpur— in Pilibhit. The police then claimed that these men had criminal cases against them and claimed to have recovered arms and ammunition from their possession.
The CBI probe found that the police got the autopsy done on 10 of the bodies and got them cremated the same day. One body could not be found.
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