26 years after fake encounter of 15-year-old in Amritsar, two ex-cops jailed for life
More than 26 years after a 15-year-old boy, Harpal Singh, was killed in a fake encounter at Nijjar village, around 40km from Amritsar, on September 18, 1992, a Mohali court sentenced the then Beas station house officer and his subordinate to life imprisonment, on Wednesday.
“You will spend the rest of your life in jail,” additional district and sessions judge, NS Gill, told the convicts — retired inspector Raghbir Singh, 81, the then SHO, and former sub-inspector, Dara Singh, 78.
Four other cops had also faced trial. The main accused, sub-inspector Ram Lubaya, who picked up the victim from his house in Palla village in the district, 8km from the encounter spot on September 14, 1992, died during trial. He also faced other such cases. Three cops, Nirmaljit Singh, Jasbir Singh and Paramjit Singh, have been acquitted.
The court has imposed a penalty of ₹61,000 on each of the convicts and ₹1 lakh will be paid as compensation to the victim’s widowed mother, Balwinder Kaur, who was the complainant.
‘No record of 217 bullets police fired; body cremated illegally’
Police had claimed that two boys, Harpal Singh and Harjit Singh, attacked a police patrol party that also comprised jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), in Nijjar village without provocation. They had added that a 20-minute encounter followed the firing in which they used 217 cartridges. After the encounter ended, Harpal was found dead, while the other boy escaped, their report said.
Countering this, Satnam Singh Bains, the counsel for Balwinder, had told the court, “No used cartridge among 217 was collected by the police party and deposited in the ‘malkhana’ (godown). None of the police officers in the said encounter sustained any injury. Their vehicles at the spot were also not damaged.”
He added, “Police killed Harpal and later concocted an encounter. Even Harjit, who was later traced and confessed to his presence at the encounter site, was killed 15 days later. Harpal’s body was cremated illegally, as unidentified and unclaimed. The post-mortem report said he was shot under his right eye and forehead, from a distance of just 3metre.”
Reacting to the judgment, convict Raghbir said, “We have been falsely implicated. After dedicating our life to service this is not what we deserve,”
“God has finally punished them. He was my only son and they killed him. Though delayed, justice has been done,” Balwinder, told HT over phone from Amritsar.