GUWAHATI – The Gauhati High Court has directed the Central government to pay a compensation of Rs 20 lakh each to the kin of five youths killed by the Army in a fake encounter in Assam’s Tinsukia district in February 1994, advocate of the petitioners, Pari Barman, said here on Friday.
The compensation amount would be deposited with the high court and it will be paid to the victims’ families as identified by the district judge, Barman told the media.
According to Barman, during an anti insurgency operation 29 years ago, Army soldiers had reportedly killed five youths at Dangari in Tinsukia district, branding them as members of the United Liberation Front of Asom after the killing of the general manager of a tea estate by unidentified assailants.
Hearing the case, a division bench of Justices Achintya Malla Bujor Barua and Robin Phukan directed the Centre to pay a compensation of Rs 20 lakh each to the families of five slain youths — Prabin Sonowal, Pradip Dutta, Debajit Biswas, Akhil Sonowal and Bhaben Moran.
Prabin was a local leader of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU).
Reacting to the court order, Jagadish Bhuyan, General Secretary of the Assam Jatiya Parishad, said that justice has finally been served after 29 years.
“For too long, the families of the five slain youths have suffered for something they did not do,” he said.
Bhuyan had filed a habeas corpus petition in the high court on February 22, 1994, seeking information about the whereabouts of the five youths after the local police confirmed their detention at the Army’s Dhola camp.
Seven Army personnel of the 18 Punjab Regiment at Dhole camp, including a Major General and two Colonels, were found involved in the killings and were awarded life imprisonment by an Army court in October 2018. -IANS