Monday, August 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Cops confess to false encounters
Say they acted on directions from top
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 12
More than 100 Punjab police officials facing a number of cases and CBI inquiries for their role in killing terrorists in “false” encounters during the decadelong turmoil in the state, virtually dropped a bombshell today, confessing that whatever they had done was on directions from the top and demanding that either the then DGP, Mr KPS Gill, SSPs, DCs and other senior officers be booked like them or they too be exonerated.

These police officials who have already announced that they would return their awards and medals to the President against the “biased” treatment being meted out to them, have urged Mr Gill, the then DGP (Intelligence), Mr OP Sharma, and other IPS officers to join their “struggle” by returning their awards to the President if various cases and inquiries against them were not withdrawn by the government by August 15.

A group of 100 police officials, some of whom are facing up to 10 cases, confessed their involvement in “encounters”, but said these were carried out in accordance with the wishes of their senior officers like SSPs, Mr Gill and Mr Sharma.

Later, these encounters were declared legal by the then DCs and SDMs. “So, why should we alone face the music? Is it justice that we are facing trials for our actions directed by others who have been hogging the limelight and were awarded on the basis of our achievements, argued Mr Sardool Singh, a retired SP and leader of the group comprising serving and retired police officials.

A serving official of the rank of Sub-Inspector alleged that monetary awards announced by the government to lower ranks, were usually usurped by senior officers who would make them sign documents stating that they had received the amount.

Should not the senior officers who used to hold press conferences and flaunt these encounters as achievements be booked for the same offence under which we have been booked,” asked Mr Dilbagh Singh, another official.

They said they were going to file a PIL in court pleading Mr KPS Gill, Mr O.P. Sharma and all other SSPs and DCs be booked under the same Sections. Mr Sardool Singh said instead of providing amnesty to police officials, the state government was allowing prosecution, though it was not competent to do so in the light of the Disturbed Area Act under which the Centre could grant permission for prosecution of police officials.

These officials said besides their scheduled programme to march to Delhi and returning their awards to the President on August 15, they were planning a protest dharna in front of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

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