Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh Makkar has hailed the verdict of a CBI court in Uttar Pradesh (UP) which held 47 policemen guilty of staged killings of 10 Sikhs in Pilibhit district in 1991.
The policemen were charged for taking the Sikhs off a bus and then killing them in fake encounters and brandishing them as militants.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Makkar said after a long drawn court battle, justice had “finally been done”. “The judgement will bring some relief to the families of the victims,” he said.
Makkar said the conviction of the policemen will also send a message to the police that they cannot take the law into their hands.
The CBI had probed the case on directions of the Supreme Court. CBI court special judge Lallu Singh pronounced the verdict on April 1. The quantum of sentence is to be pronounced on Monday.
Makkar also said while such judgements brought relief, the Sikhs of Delhi and Kanpur were awaiting justice in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases.
He appealed to the central government to initiate steps to bring all those responsible for the riots in the judicial courts.
Welcomes turban permission in US Army
The SGPC chief also welcomed the decision of the United States (US) army permitting a Sikh army officer to wear his turban on duty.
Major Simratpal Singh had appealed before the US army that he be permitted to wear the turban while on duty and also keep his beard, saying these were two important religious symbols for the Sikhs.
The US army authorities favoured him in both the pleas.
Welcoming the decision, Makkar said other western nations should follow the example setup by the US army. He said he regretted that in some countries Sikhs were not permitted to wear the turban at their workplace and that they were often humiliated by their colleagues.
“In the last couple of years, the US army has shown a great deal of flexibility in dealing with Sikh officers and soldiers.