1991 Pilibhit ‘fake’ encounter: Allahabad HC denies bail to 34 cops accused of killing 10 Sikhs

As per the prosecution case, on July 12, 1991, policemen pulled 10 Sikhs out of a bus, shot them in three separate staged encounters and later branded them terrorists to cover up the incident.
The bench of justice Ramesh Sinha and justice Brij Raj Singh observed that the accused cops had indulged in a barbaric and inhuman killing of innocent Sikhs by calling them terrorists.
The bench of justice Ramesh Sinha and justice Brij Raj Singh observed that the accused cops had indulged in a barbaric and inhuman killing of innocent Sikhs by calling them terrorists.
Updated on May 27, 2022 01:19 AM IST
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ByAgencies

Allahabad: The Allahabad high court has denied bail to 34 cops for allegedly killing 10 Sikh pilgrims in a staged encounter in 1991 in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit district.

As per the prosecution case, on July 12, 1991, policemen pulled 10 Sikhs out of a bus, shot them in three separate staged encounters and later branded them terrorists to cover up the incident.

The bench of justice Ramesh Sinha and justice Brij Raj Singh observed that the accused cops had indulged in a barbaric and inhuman killing of innocent persons by calling them terrorists. The motive for the encounter was said to be the bounty tied to killing militants at a time when insurgency in Punjab hadn’t died down.

“More so, if some of the victims were involved in anti-social activities and criminal cases were registered against them, then too procedure established by law should have been adhered to, to bring them to task and not indulging in such a barbaric and inhuman killing of the innocent persons in the name of terrorists by the appellants,” the court said as it listed the criminal appeal of the accused filed challenging their conviction for final hearing on July 25.

Initially, the investigation of the incident was conducted by the local police and a closure report was filed. However, the Supreme Court entrusted the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). On April 4, 2016, the CBI court convicted 47 cops under Sections 120-B, 302, 364, 365, 218 and 117 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Later, the convicts moved the high court. Of the 47 convicts, 12 were granted bail by a co-ordinate bench of the HC either on the ground of age or severe ailment.

The appellants said four of the deceased belonged to terrorist outfit Khalistan Liberation Army and there was a vigilance report that hardcore terrorists of Khalistan Liberation Front were present in Pilibhit and adjoining area and they were committing heinous crimes like murder, loot, land grabbing etc.

Observing that it was a case of a gruesome murder, the court held that it was not justified on the part of the accused to treat all the victims as terrorists.

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