BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter
Sanjarpur, Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh): Journalists, human rights activists and residents of Azamgarh, a town in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, gathered at Sanjarpur Village yesterday to mark the third anniversary of the Batla House ‘encounter’.
Senior Journalist Ajit Sahi said on the occasion that secular minded Hindus and Muslims should come out together against “communal witch hunting” and “fake encounters.”
Sahi had done the cover story on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which is alleged by many, including the Indian Government, to be involved in terrorism, for English magazine Tehelka, where he led bare police claims of most terror suspects.
He also reiterated the demand for a separate judicial commission for all terror related cases.
This small hamlet in the Azamgarh District of Uttar Pradesh hit headlines as the “nursery of terror” as most of the alleged Indian Mujahedeen suspects had roots in this village, including the duo — Atif Amin and Md Sajid — killed in the police shootout in the Operation Batla House.
Rashima Qausar, mother of Ishrat Jahan, who was killed in a ‘fake encounter’ in Gujarat in 2004, was also present on the occasion. Qausar said, “We need to fight this battle together for justice so that what happened to my daughter is not repeated.”
Subhashini Ali, Communist leader and president of All India Democratic Women’s Association, added, “While Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is sitting on three day fast, mother of a young woman killed in a ‘fake encounter’ is here in Azamgarh; this rips open the sham of the Gujarat Government.”
Prashant Rahi, senior journalist and human rights activist from Uttarakhand, who is out on bail after four and a half years, said that its not just Muslims but all downtrodden, including Dalits and tribals, who suffer in the hands of the state.”
The programme was organised by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and presided by Hari Mandir Pandey.