- Army officers convicted in 24-year-old fake encounter case in Assam
- Army court sentences them to life imprisonment
- They had killed five men on suspicion of murdering a tea garden executive
Seven military personnel, including a Major General, have been convicted by an army court in a 24-year-old fake encounter case in Assam. They have been sentenced to life in prison.
Major General AK Lal, Colonel Thomas Mathew, Colonel RS Sibiren, Captain Dilip Singh, Captain Jagdeo Singh, Naik Albindar Singh and Naik Shivendar Singh have been sentenced to life for their involvement in a fake encounter in Assam's Tinsukia district dating back to 1994 by a Summary General Court Martial, sources in an Indian Army unit based in Dibrugarh told news agency IANS.
The army personnel had picked up nine men from different areas of Tinsukia district on February 18, 1994 on suspicion that they were involved in the killing of a top tea garden executive, Former Assam Minister and BJP leader Jagadish Bhuyan, who had filed a complaint against them, said.
The soldiers killed five of the young men in a fake encounter, branding them as ULFA (United Liberation Front of Assam) terrorists a few days after the incident, while releasing the other four.
Jagadish Bhuyan had filed a petition in the Gauhati High Court on February 22 the same year, seeking information about the young men. The high court asked the Indian Army to produce the nine AASU (All Assam Students Union) leaders at the nearest police station. The army produced five bodies at the Dholla Police Station.
The court martial process began on July 16 this year and concluded on July 27. The quantum of punishment was pronounced on Saturday, sources in the Indian Army said on Sunday.
"I strongly believe in our judicial system, democracy and discipline and neutrality of the Indian Army," Mr Bhuyan said, expressing satisfaction over the verdict.
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