Assam Fake Encounter:Army personnel sentenced to life

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Seven Indian Army personnel have  been sentenced life imprisonment for fake encounter of five members of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) 24 years ago.

The seven convicted army personnel involvement in the fake encounter case in Tinsukia district in 1994 are Major General A.K. Lal, Colonel Thomas Mathew, Colonel R.S. Sibiren, Captain Dilip Singh, Captain Jagdeo Singh, Naik Albindar Singh and Naik Shivendar.

Five members of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) Prabin Sonowal, Pradip Dutta, Debajit Biswas, Akhil Sonowal and Bhaben Moran, were killed in the fake encounter, and the police had later claimed that those killed were ULFA militants.

“Summary General Court Martial held at Dinjan has pronounced judgment in an encounter case of 1994. The judgment needs to be confirmed by the competent authority and this may take 2-3 months. The judgment is against three officers, and four junior commissioned officers and other ranks,” told an Indian Army source.

A Habeas Corpus petition was filed by former BJP leader Jagdish Bhuyan on High Court on February 22, 1994 questioning about the nine AASU members who were picked up by the army. When the High court asked the army to produce the AASU members at the nearest police station, the  army produced 5 bodies at the Dholla Police Station, triggering statewide protests.

“The seven men have been dismissed from service and sentenced to life imprisonment. For 24 years, I have never once lost faith in Indian democracy, Indian judiciary and the Indian Army. The Army has given exemplary punishment to its own officers and men on finding them guilty and this has amplified the glory of the Army and increased people’s trust in the Army,” Bhuyan said.

The court-martial process began on July 16 this year and concluded on July 27. The final hearing was pronounced on Saturday, sources in the Indian Army said on Sunday.

Bhuyan expressed happiness over the verdict and told, “I strongly believe in our judicial system, democracy and discipline and neutrality of the Indian Army.”

Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal said the verdict of court martial would strengthen peoples faith in the Army’s judiciary.

“It is a welcome judgement. The judgement will strengthen people’s faith in judiciary and the Army,” said Sarbananda Sonowal.

“The Army has also worked in a fair manner without any prejudice,” he added.

(Featured image : India Today)

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