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Fake encounter?

The Co-ordination Committee of Indian Muslims has launched a frontal attack on the police and the media for “their handling” of the Batla House encounter, reports Zia Haq.

delhi Updated: Sep 23, 2008 00:15 IST
Zia Haq

The Co-ordination Committee of Indian Muslims, a coalition of 11 organisations formed to take up the perceived harassment of Muslims in the country, launched a frontal attack on the police and the media on Monday for “their handling” of the Batla House encounter.

It also announced a mosque-driven campaign across the country against the Centre.

In what nearly sounded like a spirited defence of some of those arrested, the committee demanded a judicial probe into the encounter and said the same probe should also go into the circumstances of how Delhi Police inspector M.C. Sharma was killed.

The committee also cited a separate “fact-finding” report by a team of journalists and academicians, which raised doubts on the encounter.

“We want a terror-free India but Batla-house style of encounters are not acceptable. If civil society members are raising questions, it needs to be probed,” Zafarul-Islam Khan, president of the All-India Majlis-e-Mushwarat said.

Irfanullah Khan, who heads the Jamia Residents’ Coordination Committee, said the police’s claim that the “terrorists” forged their tenant verification forms was a “blatant lie”.

He held out the verification form that had a police stamp along side another unrelated document stamped by the Jamia police. “Is there a difference in the two stamp impressions?” Khan asked.

Asked why there was so much suspicion over the encounter even though a police officer had died in the line fire, Jamia professor Arshad Alam told HT: “We aren’t going by a pre-conceived notion. But on the face of it, there are many doubts.”

He said from the physical verification of the flat, it was clear there was only one point of entry and exit — the stairway. The police claim, that two of the suspected terrorists managed to flee, is contrary to what the team claimed to have found.

Secondly, how a police officer was allowed to carry out a planned anti-terror raid without bulletproof gear is something the police have not yet explained.

The fact-finding team also wondered why a “terrorist” would readily agree to undergo police verification just a week after the Ahmedabad blasts.

The alleged terrorist, Atif, had given the caretaker his driving licence as ID proof, which has turned out to be true, he said.

Several journalists have used that address to reach his Azamgarh home, Khan said.