Syed Akhlak Ahmad for BeyondHeadlines
Batla House “Encounter” 2008 was a part of a big and planned conspiracy against the religious minority community of India by the communal forces in Indian State to terrorize and to marginalize this community in the name of so called Indian Mujahedeen.
On the fourth anniversary I think communal forces of the Indian State succeeded to terrorize and to marginalize this community in the name of counter terrorism operations against the so called Indian Mujaheedin. They also succeeded to shield the real culprits of Delhi Bomb Blast hiding the truth behind the ‘Encounter’. By not ordering the Independent judicial or Criminal Probe of the incident no justice has been done to the families of Atif, Sajid, Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and many others arrested in the same case as well as to the larger population of India. The State also needs to abide by rule of law and it is the government’s constitutional duty to institute an inquiry.
This is the fact that ‘Encounter’ like this happen due to the communal politics and it could be stopped by political means only. In this case politics and the political leaders have highlighted the issue has succeeded to somewhat in deterring the police to repeat any such incident. But I think the better and organised political planning can be more useful to completely stop this type of incidents. Independent judicial probe/criminal probe must be ordered as soon as possible. This is necessary not only to explore and validate the claims but to bring out the truth behind the ‘Encounter’ that included the killing of police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma also. I think there are number of unanswered questions which need proper independent investigations to satisfy the public mind. I did not see any possibility by the government to probe the ‘Encounter’ because I smell political involvement in this ‘Encounter’.
If the probe does not happen the youth will be satisfied with the famous version of the ‘Encounter’ that this was a planned murder of innocents by the Special Cell covering or shielding the real culprits of the Bomb Blasts and was to create a fear psychosis as well as insecurity among the minority community. They will reach the conclusion that there is no justice for Muslims in this country and their life and liberty is in danger. For the sake of Human rights and Justice it is a must to probe this incident.
It is now increasingly becoming clear that the government and the Police in the name of counter-terrorism discriminate against Muslims especially the Muslim Youth. It is self evident by the judgments in these cases where number of innocents Muslims arrested in the name of counter-terrorism were released by the different courts after long years of legal battle. In some prominent cases like Macca Masjid Blast, Samjhauta Express Train Blast, Malegaon Bomb blast and Ajmer Blast it is now proved that the terror activity was done by Saffron groups and the innocent Muslims were arrested in these cases. The evidences and witnesses presented in the court by the investigation agencies were fake and manipulated in these cases. I think this discrimination is due to the communal infiltration in our intelligence agencies and Anti-Terror Squads (ATS) as well as in the broad politics.
Muslim religious and political leadership have played an important role in fighting this communalism and discrimination, however there is much more required to do. First we have to admit that the leadership in the community through protests and press briefings has created a level of awareness in the community and outside. This needs to be expanded and strengthened and to be honest the community has not been very successful in doing so in a sustained manner. Actually this issue needs some serious efforts both at the political and legal levels. We need clear planning to deal with this issue which has bearing on the larger issues and the future of the Muslim minorities in India. They need to organize & aware the masses, political groups & human rights organisations against this huge human rights violations and their impact on this secular and democratic country. This is a political problem and will be solved on the same platform but approaching High courts and Supreme courts in a planned manner will help to solve this issue. Solidarity with the affected families and fighting the cases of the victims will minimize the losses to the community.
Regarding police-Muslim relations, I want to say that it is not only about police and the Muslims but the Police-Public relation in Delhi and India in general is one of mutual dis-respect and distrust. This is due to the non-accountable and non-transparent police system in India. Police system has to be accountable and transparent. The other problem is that our police have no knowledge and respect for the human and civil rights. No relation can be developed doing artificial things like police-public meetings/opening police-public library/Iftaar and Eid Milan parties. These all techniques fail when police violate any law/civil rights and moreover no action against the culprit police personnel is taken.
In the post-Batla House encounter, Delhi Police in this area took several initiatives and tried to engage with the local community. They in fact achieved a little bit of success but the regular illegal and irresponsible raids/arrests by the different wings of Delhi Police failed them to develop any substantial engagement or relationship with the Muslims in the area. The genuine demand of the public for the independent inquiry of the said ‘Encounter’ has also not been accepted by the government or the police. So this is another reason why they cannot fully succeed to make a good relation with the community.
(The author is the National Coordinator of Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) and Secretary of its Delhi Chapter.)