Lucknow, India: Twenty years after a case of staged shootout, a CBI court in Ghaziabad on Thursday held 17 policemen guilty and sentenced 16 of them to life imprisonment, making it perhaps the largest number of cops convicted for life at one go in the country. They were convicted of killing a Gurdwara sewadar, Jasvinder Singh Jasna of Amritsar, in a fake encounter in 1992.
One of them was given a seven-year sentence. All 17 were fined Rs 5,000 each.
Jasna, a “sewadar” (worker) at Gurdwara Rakabganj in New Delhi, was gunned down by a team of 17 policemen in Bardpur, Bijnore, on October 31, 1992.
The police claimed that an AK-56 rifle and 24 cartridges were recovered from Jasna, a sewadar at Gurdwara Rakabganj in New Delhi, when he was gunned down by a team of 17 policemen in Bijnore in October 1992. They suspected he was handling Sikh militancy in the Terai region of UP.
Out of the 17 cops, 16 were given life term on Thursday. The only comparable instance of such mass convictions took place in Nagpur. Eight people were convicted for massacring a Dalit family in 2006-six of them got death sentences and two life imprisonment. In July 2010, the convictions of six of them, who were given death, were commuted to life.
The Ghaziabad CBI court order, a rarity, only underscores UP’s dubious distinction of recording the largest number of fake encounters in the country, with one police officer saying it was higher than in insurgency-hit states like Manipur, J&K, and Chattisgarh. Given the recovery of an AK-56 rifle supposedly from Jasna, the FIR lodged in connection with the encounter with Bardapur police under Sections 307 of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act also included sections 3/4 of TADA.
Author: Pervez Iqbal Siddiqui, TNN