Prosecutor says Indian court has sentenced 47 police officers get life in prison for killing Sikh pilgrims
An Indian prosecuter said on Tuesday that an Indian court has sentenced 47 police officers to life in prison for killing a group of Sikh pilgrims in 1991 whom they had claimed were militants.
According to the Press Trust of India, police officers were convicted of shooting dead the pilgrims to try and earn promotions in the state of Uttar Pradesh which at the time was affected by Sikh militant activity.
Police officers stooped the bus carrying the pilgrims and their families before later marching 11 of them into a jungle area of the northern state and killing them, prosecutor SC Jaiswal said.
"The court observed that there was ample evidence to award life sentences to the guilty," Jaiswal said of the court's decision on Monday.
"The court specifically observed that a crime of such magnitude could not have happened without the knowledge of those higher up and they too should have been charged," he added.
The court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's leading investigative agency, found the police guilty of carrying out a "fake encounter."
The term is commonly used term in India for staged confrontations in which police or military forces execute unarmed suspects and later claim self-defence.
The CBI charged 57 police officers in 1995 but 10 of them died during the eventual trial that took years to conclude in India's notoriously slow legal system. The remaining 47 were found guilty on Friday.