The Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA), an NGO that has been demanding a judicial probe into the Batla House encounter, has decided to move the higher court against Thursday’s verdict.
“We are deeply disappointed with the judgment and there is no doubt that we will approach the high court. We haven’t read the order so far. We will decide the future course of action after reading the judgment,” said Manisha Sethi, president of JTSA.
NGO members expressed their shock at the conviction of Shahzad for the murder of inspector Mohan Chand Sharma during the Batla House encounter.
They said there was no direct evidence against Shahzad.
The association was formed soon after the encounter and initially focused on their demand for a judicial probe into the Batla House encounter. Later, it prepared a fact-finding report on the people arrested by the special cell of Delhi Police.
The report had details of 16 cases in which the police versions couldn’t stand the scrutiny of the court.
“No one visited and interviewed the local residents, who had witnessed the incident. Even the gun with which police had claimed Shahzad shot at Sharma couldn’t be recovered,” Sethi said.
Local residents, who were helping Shahzad and many others in the court battle, felt justice had been denied.
“Initially they claimed police’s morale will flag if the encounter had been termed ‘fake’. We believe the judgment was delivered just to boost the morale of the police. How can we expect the court to give judgment in Shahzad’s favour when the complete facts were not even presented before them? Why would police give evidence that can go against them? This is why we have been demanding for an independent enquiry in the matter,” said Amanatullah Khan, a resident of Batla house.
Shahzad is said to be one of the occupants of the flat in Jamia Nagar where the encounter took place on September 19, 2008.
Shahzad is the lone accused facing trial in connection with the shootout in which MC Sharma lost his life.
The other accused named in the chargesheet are Mohd Atif Ameen alias Bashir and Mohd Sajid. Both of them were shot in the encounter.