The “unusual” fact that none of the 57 Uttar Pradesh Police personnel involved in the infamous Pilibhit encounter in which 11 Sikhs were killed in July 1991 suffered even a bruise in the operation drove former Judge of Delhi High Court RS Sodhi to file a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a thorough probe, which ultimately led to a CBI investigation and conviction. Forty-seven policemen were convicted early this week as 10 others had already died.He was in for a shock when he saw the post-mortem examination reports of those killed. The reports submitted by the UP police in the court showed that some of the slain youths were circumcised.“The bodies of 11 Sikhs were disposed of without post-mortem. They showed post-mortem reports of other bodies, but didn’t realise their glaring mistake,” recalled Sodhi while talking to The Tribune on the phone.The SC ordered a CBI inquiry as there were so many glaring chinks in the police theory. “Finally, the guilty are punished,” he said.A septuagenarian based in New Delhi, Sodhi recalled that after reading newspaper reports, he moved the Supreme Court and sought post-mortem examination reports of those killed. “It was strange that none of the 57 cops was injured in the alleged encounter. I filed the PIL and sought post-mortem examination reports, which showed that some of the Sikhs were circumcised, which can’t be true, as there is no such practice in Sikhism,” he said.Though justice has been delivered, there is still some work to do. “Only 10 bodies were said to have been recovered. The 11th is still missing,” he said.This is not the only PIL he moved. Sodhi took up the case of missing human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra and Beas killings, besides defending cases of Sikh soldiers who allegedly left the Army after Operation Bluestar.
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