Adv. Seema Misra for BeyondHeadlines
On the occasion of the fourth anniversary of Batla House Encounter many of us are waiting for the truth to come out. People are questioning whether this was an encounter or a cold blooded killing. This can only be clear with a probe. I strongly feel that an independent judicial probe is required; the version of the law enforcement agency cannot be final and conclusive. A judicial probe is a must in all encounter deaths.
The politics of Batla House Encounter in a way has created awareness and has brought the issue to mainstream discussion. But there is an urgent need to include more and more people from all walks of life. There must be a campaign for registering FIR against the police in all encounters. This is not at all a Muslim specific issue; rather this happens throughout the country with many other communities. Nevertheless, we have to acknowledge that with Muslims there has been targeted discrimination.
The way criminal justice system especially the law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been used against Muslims through extreme forms of torture in custody, torture targeted to hurt religious sentiments, a large number of FIRs in different places to prolong the trial and the all suspicion towards Muslim youth etc. are clear pictures of discrimination against Muslims. As one can see in the case of Gujarat all ‘terror trials’ in the state are held in jail and are not open.
This is well known that there is an inherent bias against the Muslims. To fight such bias and discrimination, the Muslim leadership, both religious and secular most often has been involved in a lot of posturing; they need to use the Constitutional protection and guarantees in their discourse and develop a much bigger platform to raise voice against the discrimination by the state and the police. Any dialogue to deal with such biases must have to be based on facts, figures and legal cases and not just on bland emotional and political statements.
It is surprising that despite knowing the concern of the community and millions of peace loving and law abiding citizens of the country, the government has not ordered a probe even after four years. There is a grave danger in this process as without a probe the youth will lose faith in the working of the Indian democracy and will consider that the human right protection is only on paper.