DOOMDOOMA, Oct 14 - At long last, the five victim families of the infamous Dangari encounter case that took place in February 1994, got justice after patiently waiting for 24 years.
After the Summary General Court Martial (SGCM) of the infamous Dangari Army encounter case in which five youths, namely Prabin Sonowal, Pradip Dutta, Debajit Biswas, Akhil Sonowal and Bhaben Moran were brutally killed, the Army court on Saturday gave its verdict at the HQ of DAO Division situated at Dinjan.
Though details of the verdict are yet to be known, but an Army source informed the media that seven jawans of the Punjab Regiment involved in the case were awarded life imprisonment.
CBI vide FIR No. RC-4/S/2000-CAL chargesheeted the guilty Army personnel as survivors and witnesses deposed during the court martial.
It can be recalled that the Dholla-based 18 Punjab Regiment of Indian Army picked up nine innocent youths, namely AASU leader Prabin Sonowal, Pradip Dutta, Debajit Biswas, Akhil Sonowal, Bhaben Moran, Matheswar Moran, Gunin Hazarika, Prakash Sharma and Manoranjan Das from different locations of Doomdooma Circle in Tinsukia district between February 17 to 19, 1994 and detained them in Dholla Army Camp following the killing of Rameswar Singh, the General Manager of Assam Frontier Tea Limited at Talap Tea Estate by ULFA militants.
Following a habeas corpus filed by then AGP leader and former MLA of Sadiya LAC Jagadish Bhuyan, the Gauhati High Court ordered the Army to produce the nine persons at the nearest police station on February 21, 1994. After that, the Army dumped five bodies identified as that of Prabin Sonowal, Pradip Dutta, Debajit Biswas, Akhil Sonowal and Bhaben Moran at Doomdooma Police Station on February 22 after Dholla PS refused to accept the bodies. The remaining four persons were released in different locations.
The Army reportedly took the five youths in two boats to Dibru-Saikhowa National Park after crossing Dangari river and killed them in a fake encounter.
There was a Statewide uproar following the incident. The then AASU president Sarbananda Sonowal, secretary Samujjal Bhattacharya, former AASU leaders Atul Borah and Keshav Mahanta and others staged protests demanding adequate compensation for the victim families. AASU declared them as �Pancha Swahid �.
In 2001, the Gauhati High Court directed the Government to pay Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the slain persons. But even after 24 years of the ghastly incident, the Government failed to honour the court�s order even after Sarbananda Sonowal himself is now heading the Government.
The victim families have expressed satisfaction for getting justice after a long wait of 24 years.