One Major General and 6 other military personnel have been convicted and sentenced to life in prison by an army court in a 24-year-old fake encounter case.
Sources in an Indian Army unit based in Dibrugarh confirmed this and said that Major General A.K. Lal, Colonel Thomas Mathew, Colonel R.S. 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 case in Assam’s Tinsukia district dating back to 1994 by a Summary General Court Martial, a report in IANS said.
Former Assam Minister and BJP leader Jagadish Bhuyan said that 9 men were picked up by the army from different areas of Tinsukia district on February 18, 1994, on the suspicion that they were involved in the killing of a top tea garden executive.
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 Habeas Corpus petition in the Gauhati High Court on February 22, the same year, seeking information about the fate of the young men.
The High Court asked the Indian Army to produce the 9 AASU (All Assam Students Union) leaders at the nearest police station. The army produced 5 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.
Jagadish Bhuyan expressed happiness over the verdict and told IANS, “I strongly believe in our judicial system, democracy and discipline and neutrality of the Indian Army.”