National

1991 fake encounter case: HC rejects bail pleas of 34 former PAC constables

The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court has rejected the bail pleas of 34 former constables of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) accused of killing 10 Sikh men in an alleged fake encounter in 1991.

“The gruesome murder of the deceased who had no criminal antecedents along with some of the deceased who had criminal antecedents, cannot be in any manner justified treating all the deceased to be the terrorists by separating them from their wives and children, who were going to a pilgrimage in the bus, by the appellants and taking them in another bus and killing them in a fake encounter at three different places of district Pilibhit,” the court observed.

“More so, if some of the deceased 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,” it said.

A Bench of Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Brij Raj Singh passed the order while deciding the bail pleas moved by the appellants individually, along with their appeals preferred against their conviction and sentence awarded by a special CBI court at Lucknow in 2016.

The court fixed July 25 as the next date for hearing.

According to the prosecution case, on July 12, 1991, a bus boarding Sikh pilgrims was stopped near Pilibhit by a team of Uttar Pradesh Police of Pilibhit district.

They brought down 10-11 Sikh youths from the bus, boarded them in their own blue police bus and some police personnel sat in the bus along with the remaining pilgrims.

Thereafter, the remaining pilgrims kept roaming in the pilgrims’ bus the whole day with the police personnel and after that, the policemen left the bus at a gurdwara in Pilibhit at night.

The ten Sikh youths, who were alighted from the pilgrims’ bus, were “killed” by the police.

The 11th one was a child whose whereabouts could not be traced and his parents were given compensation by the State.

Initially, the investigation was conducted by Pilibhit police, and a closure report was filed. However, the Supreme Court entrusted the investigation of the incident relating to the encounter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The CBI booked 57 people, but 10 people died pending trial. The special CBI judge convicted 47 accused under Sections 302 (murder) along with criminal conspiracy and other sections of the IPC.


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Printable version | May 27, 2022 4:55:20 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/1991-fake-encounter-case-hc-rejects-bail-pleas-of-34-former-pac-constables/article65465152.ece