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Rare conviction: After 22 years of killing a Sikh in fake encounter Indian cops get life term

March 30, 2012 | By

Lucknow, India (March 30, 2012): Twenty years after a case of staged shoot-out, a CBI court in Ghaziabad on Thursday held 17 policemen guilty and sentenced 16 of them to life imprisonment on March 29, 2012, making it perhaps the largest number of cops convicted for life at one go in the country. They were convicted of killing a Sikh, Jaivender Singh Jasna of Amritsar, in a fake encounter in 1992.

One of them was given a seven-year sentence. All 17 were fined Rs. 5,000/- each.

Jasna, a “sewadar” (worker) at Gurdwara Rakabganj in New Delhi, was gunned down by a team of 17 policemen in Bardpur, Bijnore, on October 31, 1992.

The police had claimed that an AK-56 rifle and 24 cartridges were allegedly recovered from Jasna, when he was gunned down by a team of 17 policemen in Bijnore in October 1992.

Out of the 17 cops, 16 were given life term on Thursday. The only other comparable instance of such mass convictions took place in Nagpur. Eight people were convicted for massacring a Dalit family in 2006-six of them got death sentences and two life imprisonment. In July 2010, the convictions of six of them, who were given death, were commuted to life.

The Ghaziabad CBI court order, a rarity, only underscores UP’s dubious distinction of recording the largest number of fake encounters in the country, with one police officer saying it was higher than in insurgency-hit states like Manipur, J&K, and Chattisgarh.

It is notable that practise of enforced disappearances, custodial torture & killings, fake encounters and secret cremations were widely used in Punjab under the grab of counterinsurgency operations during 1980s-90s; but thousands such cases remain not-investigated. Impunity has prevailed in Punjab for decades and culprits of “crimes against humanity” are enjoying high ranks in police and other government departments. Present Director General of Punjab Police (DGP) Sumedh Saini is himself accused of mass killings and fake encounters. CBI, prime investigative agency of India, had recommended his trial as the agency found a bundle of solid evidence against him, but the supreme court of India quashed the High court’s order that had authenticated CBI enquiry. Indian judiciary has blatantly failed to address these mass level human rights violations.

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