Lucknow: A special CBI court on Monday sentenced 47 policemen to life imprisonment for killing 11 Sikh pilgrims at three different spots in Pilibhit district in a fake encounter on July 12, 1991.
CBI court judge Lalloo Singh had convicted the accused cops under sections 302, 364, 365, 218 and 117 read with 120B of the IPC on Friday, adding that there was ample evidence against these persons for kidnapping and conspiring to kill the pilgrims in name of terrorists.
On July 12, 1991, a group of Sikh pilgrims was returning by bus after visiting Nanakmatha, Patna Sahib, Huzur Sahib and other holy places. The police intercepted the bus near a bridge at Kachhalaghat in Pilibhit at around 11 am. Eleven Sikhs were forced to step down from the bus. Later, they were killed allegedly in an encounter. It was said that they were terrorists and had fired on cops. Illegal recovery of arms was also shown from the deceased. FIRs of the incident were registered at Vilsanda, Puranpur and Nauria police stations.
Later, lawyer RS Sodhi filed a PIL in the Supreme Court which handed over the probe to the CBI. After investigation, the CBI found that the Sikhs were innocent and were killed in a fake encounter in which station officers, sub-inspector and constables of different police stations were involved. It filed charge sheet against 57 policemen on June 12, 1995. Ten accused died during the 25-year-old trial. The court had framed charged against the accused on January 20, 2003.