Justice delivered to the kin of 13 victims after 31 years

It took 31 years for justice to be delivered to the kin of the 13 victims of a fake encounter when three policemen were sentenced to death and five other cops awarded life imprisonment by a Special CBI court on Friday. The fake encounter took place in Madhavpur village in Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh on March 12, 1982. Twelve persons were killed in the false encounter and their killings were preceded by that of a Deputy Superintendent of Police, whose murder in the same village earlier was shrouded in mystery.

A group clash in the village was said to have triggered off the fake encounter.

The judgment was delivered by Special CBI Judge Rajendra Singh. Hearing in the 31-year-old case had concluded on March 30 with eight policemen convicted of carrying out the false massacre. The sentence was awarded on Friday. One policeman was let off for want of evidence. While the then Station House Officer of Kauriya police station in Gonda district, R.B. Saroj, then head constable, Ram Nayak Pandey and constable Ram Karan were given the death row, PAC Commandant Ramakant Dixit, Sub-Inspectors Naseem Ahmed, Mangal Singh , Parvez Hussain and Rajendra Prasad Singh were sentenced to life imprisonment. Constable Prem Singh Raikwar was let off for want of evidence.

The CBI had filed the charge sheet against 19 policemen. Ten cops had died during the pendency of the trial. According to the case, a group clash had occurred in Madhavpur village under the Katrabazar police station area in Gonda district. On March 12, 1982, the then DSP of Katrabazar, KP Singh, had gone to the village to apparently control the situation. He was shot dead. Thereafter the trigger-happy policemen killed 12 villagers in cold blood. The police said that they were killed in an encounter. Regarding the killing of the DSP, the police maintained that the police officer was killed in a bomb attack.

Suspecting foul play, K.P. Singh’s widow Vibha Singh had filed a petition in the Supreme Court. The apex court directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry in the case. Following a probe into the case, the central investigating agency found the charges of fake encounter to be true. Charge sheet against 19 policemen was filed by the CBI on December 28, 1989 and the case dragged on for another 24 years before justice was delivered to the kin of the fake encounter victims.