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Major General, 2 Colonels, five others sentenced to life imprisonment for Assam fake encounter

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Major General, 2 Colonels, five others sentenced to life imprisonment for Assam fake encounter

A Summary General Court martial in Assam on Saturday, October 13, ordered the dismissal from service and life imprisonment of seven personnel, including a Major General and two Colonels, for killing five people in a fake encounter in eastern Assam’s Dangari 24 years ago.

The personnel convicted at the court martial held at the Army’s Dinjan base in eastern Assam’s are Major General AK Lal, Colonels Thomas Matthew and RS Sibiren, Captains Dilip Singh and Jagdeo Singh, and Naiks Albinder Singh and Shivender Singh.

The court martial related to the February 1994 Dangari encounter case in which five youth, — Prabin Sonowal, Pradip Dutta, Debajit Biswas, Akhil Sonowal and Bhaben Moran, all reportedly members of All Assam Student’s Union (AASU) — were killed, had concluded on July 27.

“The judgement has strengthened the people’s belief in the Indian judiciary. It has also shown that the Army too believes in delivering justice and maintaining its glory that a few officers cannot taint,” BJP leader Jagadish Bhuyan, who had initiated the case in 1994, told The Hindu.

A senior Defence official told The Hindu that the judgment was pronounced against “three officers and four JCOs and OR”. He added that a confirmation from the “competent authority” may take two-three months.

The incident

The killing of the youth came in Army action in February 1994. Following the killing of Rameshwar Singh, the general manager of the Assam Frontier Tea Limited at the Talap Tea Estate by United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) gunmen, troops of the 18 Punjab Regiment based at Dhola in Tinsukia, had picked up nine youths from their houses in Tinsukia district’s Talap area on February 17, 1994.

After receiving information about the missing men, Bhuyan, then an Asom Gana Parishad MLA, informed the Tinsukia district authorities, the chief secretary and the State’s police chief as well as the Governor by February 21.

“On February 21, the local police confirmed that the boys were being detained at the Dhola camp. Fearing for their lives, I filed a habeas corpus in the Gauhati High Court on February 22. That afternoon, Chief Justice SN Phukan and Justice AK Patnaik ordered the Army to produce the arrested youth before a magistrate,” Bhuyan recalled.

The very same day, the Army released Matheswar Moran, Gunin Hazarika, Prakash Sharma, and Manoranjan Das at different locations after receiving the court order. The soldiers reportedly took the other five in two boats to the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park after crossing the Dangari river and shot them.

The two boatmen — Moka Murah and Ratna Moran — also vanished without a trace.

Petition, CBI inquiry and Supreme Court order

“I filed a petition in the High Court on February 23 saying the troops ignored the court order and killed the boys. The CBI, which was directed to take up the case, listed seven officers and jawans as accused.

“The case went to the Supreme Court, which sought a court martial and punishment of the guilty officers,” Bhuyan said.

Soon after the petition was filed, former Tinsukia district police chief RK Singh said the post-mortem on the bodies of the five men — labelled ULFA extremists by the Army — revealed they had been brutally tortured before being shot, reported The Hindu. Their tongues were sliced, eyes gouged out and kneecaps smashed, and their bodied bore evidence of electric shocks.

Motheswar Moran, one of the survivors of the ordeal, said the five were probably killed because their bodies were not in a position to be produced before a local magistrate. “Looking back, the four of us were lucky to have been tortured less,” he said.

He said the Army had picked up the youths from the entry record of Talap Tea Estate, where they were engaged as garden suppliers.

He and the other survivors want an assurance from the government that they would not be victimised for the sentence against the Army officers and jawans.

The judgment has come at a time when more than 700 army personnel have petitioned the Supreme Court asking for all court-monitored investigations into fake encounters by the armed forces to be stayed. The first prayer of the petitioners is to protect the “bonafide” action of soldiers under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, “so that no soldier is harassed by initiation of criminal proceedings”.

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Rameshwaram Cafe blast: Karnataka Home Minister reveals how police inputs helped NIA arrest accused

The blast at the cafe occurred during lunch hour on March 1 at around 1 pm, which left 10 people injured

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Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara said on Saturday that inquiry teams were attempting to determine whether the two suspects in the Rameshwaram cafe blast who were detained by the NIA had any connections to other terrorist groups. He also praised the state police for their contributions, some of which resulted in their arrest. Meanwhile, the suspects have been placed in 10-day police custody on remand.

The Karnataka police and the NIA have both performed incredibly well. In the beginning, they obtained all of the CCTV footage and monitored one of the accused, which helped in their arrest, he said.

The minister disclosed how the NIA was able to arrest the accused, which was possible because of a tip from the police.

He said the police shared very good inputs with the NIA, like the cap the accused was wearing, which was purchased from Chennai, and the telephone number he had given in the shop.

According to G Parameshwara, the services were also looking for connections between them and other crimes related to terrorism. He said that they might be attempting to flee from West Bengal to Bangladesh, where they were apprehended by the NIA.

He said the team is investigating the real motive behind the blast and their involvement with other terror outfits (ISIS), as these two (accused) are supposed to be involved in the earlier Shivamogga blast and kept running for three to four days ahead of getting arrested in this case, Parameshwara stated.

Since they were apprehended in West Bengal, a state that shares a border with Bangladesh, it’s possible that they wanted to leave the country. However, currently, they don’t have any precise information on this. He continued, They will discover in due course if there is someone assisting from that side (Bangladesh).

Meanwhile, the blast at the cafe occurred during lunch hour on March 1 at around 1 pm, which left 10 people injured. On March 3, the NIA took over the case from the police and announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for any information regarding the two accused.

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PM Modi, President Murmu pay tribute to Jallianwala Bagh massacre victims

On the anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre PM Modi, President Murmu paid tribute to those who were killed in the incident.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid tribute to the victims of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. In Punjab’s Amritsar on April 13, 1919, hundreds of nonviolent protestors were shot at random by British forces.

Taking to social media X, formerly Twitter, PM Modi said, on behalf of the entire country, he pays his deepest respects to all the brave martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

President Droupadi Murmu also paid respects to those who gave their lives in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre for the sake of the country as she said that their martyrdom will continue to inspire future generations. 

The President said on X, she pays tribute  to all the freedom fighters at Jallianwala Bagh who gave their all for the country. The people of this country will always be grateful to all the wonderful people who gave their life in support of Swaraj, she added. The president wrote in Hindi on X that she is confident that the spirit of patriotism of those martyrs will always inspire the coming generations.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, said, Jallianwala Bagh is a living symbol of the cruelty and inhumanity of the British rule

Tribute to the valiant martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh who made an invaluable contribution to the country’s freedom movement, he wrote on X in Hindi.

Shah continued saying, a living example of the brutality and inhumanity of British rule is Jallianwala Bagh. This massacre ignited the revolutionary fire that had been dormant in the hearts of the people, turning the independence movement into a popular battle. He said, the lives of the dignified people of Jallianwala Bagh serve as a constant source of inspiration for selflessness and devotion to the country first.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed gratitude for the martyrs’ extraordinary bravery and selflessness.

He wrote on X, remembering the martyrs who were killed on this day in 1919 in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar. I honor their extraordinary bravery and selflessness. He also said their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

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Tejashwi Yadav releases RJD’s manifesto, promises airports in 5 Bihar cities

Tejashwi Yadav said his party is making 24 promises to the people of the nation and Bihar.

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Former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav unveiled the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lok Sabha election manifesto on Saturday morning, pledging the construction of five new airports in the state. Along with releasing Parivartan Patra, the political heir and son of RJD founder Lalu Yadav pledged Rs1 lakh annually to sisters from low-income families on Raksha Bandhan.

In the presence of senior RJD leaders, Tejashwi Yadav unveiled the document and said that his party had committed 24 commitments to both the national and Bihar citizen.

He said, they have released Parivartan Patra available. Twenty-four jan vachan (public promises) have been brought up for 2024. These 24 jan vachan are our promises, which we will keep, the speaker said.

Tejashwi Yadav said that his party will see to it that five new airports are built in Bihar to improve connectivity, should the INDIA bloc secure a majority at the Centre.

For better connectivity in Bihar, they are going to build 5 new airports in the state, in Purnea, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj and Raxaul, he said. Yadav also pledged to give Bihar special status. They will implement OPS (Old Pension Scheme) and we will provide special status to Bihar, he said. The former deputy CM promised to eradicate unemployment in the nation.

People will begin to be released from unemployment on August 15th. The process of providing jobs will begin on August 15th, if their government is elected, he stated.

Every year on Raksha Bandhan, they will provide their sisters who live in poor families with Rs 1 lakh. Gas cylinders would be available for Rs 500, he continued.

The RJD leader assured young people all over the nation of one crore jobs.

He further said, One crore youth across the country will receive government jobs if our INDIA alliance is elected to power. Our greatest opponent right now is unemployment, yet the BJP did not discuss this. Although they had pledged to provide 2 crore jobs, we carry out our word, he said.

On April 19, voting will start for the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections. On June 4, there will be a counting.


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