After Ishrat Jehan, truth must come out in the Batla House Encounter: Demand for Judicial Probe
Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh,
A judicial inquiry report on the killings of four Muslim youths in Ahmedabad in June 2004 has revealed they were abducted and killed in a fake encounter by the Gujarat Police. It was falsely claimed by the police that all four, including Ishrat Jehan - a girl student from Mumbai - belonged to a terrorist organisation and had plotted to murder Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Together with the case of Sheikh Sohrabuddin earlier, there is clear evidence piling up that the Gujarat government, over the last 8 years, has repeatedly staged fake encounters and murdered people in cold blood, branding them as 'terrorists'. However Narendra Modi or BJP governments are not alone when it comes to such encounters and minority witch-hunts in the name of 'fighting terrorism'. Arbitrary killings and arrests of Muslim youth and their implication in false cases continue unabated across the country in state after state ruled by constituents of both the UPA and the NDA.
One such sordid 'encounter' occurred last year on 19th September, when two young men were shot dead at Batla House by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, who claimed they were operatives of the Indian Mujahedeen, which was allegedly responsible for the Delhi serial blasts. Civil rights activists had pointed out several loopholes in the police version. The photographic evidence of the dead bodies clearly showed external injuriesa fact confirmed by the post mortem reports of the deceased. Who caused those injuries?
If indeed, as the Delhi Police claims, the boys fired upon the police party, and were killed in return fire, how was it that there were injury marks on the bodies? Further, bullet injuries on the forehead of 17-year-old Sajid indicates that he had been shot while being forced to squat or kneel.
It is to be noted that no magisterial enquiry was allowed into the 'encounter' even though this is mandatorily required by law. The enquiry conducted later at the request of the Delhi High Court by the National Human Rights Commission can only be termed a farce, as it relied solely upon the version provided by the Delhi Policethe accused party! In its rush to pronounce the innocence of the Delhi Police, the NHRC refused to even maintain a fig leaf of impartiality and fairness.
In the light of recent revelations from Gujarat in the case of Ishrat Jehan we believe that it is only appropriate, ethical, and legally incumbent upon the UPA government to re-open the Batla House 'encounter' case. We strongly feel that the truth must come out in the Batla House 'encounter' in the interests of justice and as a deterrent to the politics of murder indulged in by sections of the Indian police.
We urge you, therefore, to immediately institute a Judicial Probe, under a sitting judge of the Supreme Court to verify the truth about the Batla House 'encounter'.
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