Army court sentences Major General, 6 others to life in fake encounter case

WION Web Team Delhi, India Oct 15, 2018, 07.03 AM(IST)

File photo of Indian army. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The judgement of life imprisonment is yet to be confirmed by Eastern Army Command in Kolkata and Army Headquarter in Delhi, which may take a few more months.

A Summary General Court Martial (SGCM) of the Indian Army convicted seven personnel, including a Major General for their alleged involvement in a 1994 fake encounter case in Assam.

According to reports, AK Lal, Colonel Thomas Mathew, Colonel RS Sibiren, Captain Dilip Singh, Captain Jagdeo Singh, Naik Albindar Singh and Naik Shivendar Singh have been awarded life imprisonment for their involvement in a fake encounter of the five youths that had taken place in Assam's Tinsukia district 24-years-ago.

However, the judgement of life imprisonment is yet to be confirmed by Eastern Army Command in Kolkata and Army Headquarter in Delhi, which may take a few more months.

In February 1994, the army had detained nine youths who were picked up by the unit of the Punjab regiment from different areas of Tinsukia district over suspicion that they were involved in the killing of a top tea garden executive who was killed by ULFA militants. The youths were All Assam Students Union activists.

Army personnel reportedly killed five of them after branding them as ULFA militants. Other four reportedly were released after apparently being threatened at gunpoint.

On February 22 of the same year, Jagdish Bhuyan, then All Assam Students Union leader filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the Gauhati High Court seeking to know the details of the youths. The High court asked the Indian Army to produce the nine All Assam Students Union leaders at the nearest police station, later the Army reportedly produced five bodies at the Dholla Police Station in Assam.

The probe of the case handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) which chargesheeted seven army personnel in the case.

The High Court had asked the army to conduct a court-martial which began on July 16 this year and concluded on July 27. The quantum of punishment was pronounced on Saturday.

The court-martial was also challenged by the army in the Supreme Court. After taking a nod from the apex court, the army started the process of holding the SGCM.