With suspicions being raised on the authenticity of the encounter in which eight undertrial members of the banned Students of Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) outfit, Justice Markandey Katju has said the culprits responsible for the extra-judicial killings must be given the death sentence.
In a Facebook post, Justice Katju said that the available facts suggest that the “so called encounter in Bhopal was fake” and all those who ordered the enquiry, including the politicians and senior police officials, must be given the death sentence.
“From what I could gather, the so called ‘encounter’ in Bhopal was fake, and all those responsible for it, not only those who did the actual executions, but also those who ordered it, including politicians and senior police officers, must be given death sentence, as held by my bench in the Supreme Court in Prakash Kadam vs. Ramprasad Vishwanath.
Justice Katju also cited the Nuremburg trials after the end of Second World War which had hanged officials who said they killed people only because they were following orders.
“In the Nuremburg trials after the end of the Second World War the Nazi war criminals took the plea that ‘ orders are orders ‘. But this plea was rejected, and most of them were ordered to be hanged. So trigger happy policemen who think they can do extra judicial killings and get away with it should know that the gallows await them.”
The SIMI members had allegedly escaped from Bhopal Central Jail in the wee on Monday after killing a security guard. Eight hours after their escape, they were allegedly killed in an encounter at Einthedi village on the city outskirts.
Police had said the SIMI terrorists had killed the security guard with a steel plate and glass and used bedsheets to scale the jail walls.
Five jail officials were suspended for negligence which allegedly let the SIMI members escape. Meanwhile, the National Investigative Agency has been roped in to probe into the alleged fake encounter.
An Islamist extremist organisation, SIMI was founded in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, in April 1977. It was banned by the government in 2006.