L-18, the address, unsettles all in Batla House. Even after a year, the building hasn’t been able to rid itself of the memories of last year’s ‘encounter’.
Residents of L-18 still live in fear. “Most have moved out. The harassment by the authorities changed their lives,” said Hamid Ali, who resides in L-16.
Though every one in the area made an effort to leave the gloom of the ‘encounter’ behind them, no one is willing to let go of the unanswered questions and accept the encounter — in which Delhi Police Special Cell Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma lost his life — as genuine.
Nothing seems to convince the residents, even the National Human Rights Commission’s report which gave a clean chit to the police.
The findings were accepted by Delhi High Court and subsequently challenged by an NGO, Act Now For Harmony and Democracy, in the SC.
“They (the government) are all involved. The boys are innocent. It’s a conspiracy on the part of Delhi Police. They just needed scapegoats,” said Mohammed Khurram, a resident of the area.
The fear and the anger has, however, not dampened the spirit of Eid at Batla House. “We cannot live in terror forever. So, we are celebrating Eid,” said Hanif Mohammed Khan. “Last year, it were bad.”
a step back
Last year, Jamia Millia Islamia University went all out to protect its secular character. Two of the university’s students were held for their alleged role in the Delhi blasts.
This year, there has been no such effort to reach out to the surrounding community.
The administration is not even willing to discuss any question on the issue. The new Vice Chancellor, Najeeb Jung, wasn’t available for comment despite repeated attempts.
“I cannot say anything on this. I have no bearing on what happened last year,” said Rakshanda Jalil, the university's media coordinator and head of the Outreach programme, which was actively involved in organising solidarity walks regarding the very same issue last year.