Batla House encounter case convict Shahzad Ahmad’s relatives who remain in his village expressed surprise and disappointment over the court ruling on Thursday.
“We will file an appeal in higher courts,” his grandfather Iftekhar Ahmad, former principal of Shibli college, told HT at Khalispur in eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh district, 270 km from Lucknow.
shahzad’s uncle Anees Ahmad said, “This is not the end of the road for us. We have faith in the judicial system of the country. Shahzad and other innocent Muslims will be acquitted one day.”
Groups of men, women and children gathered around Shahzad’s single-storey home in the village in the run-up to the verdict. No one from Shahzad’s immediate family lives here. His father Siraj Ahmad works in Saudi Arabia and mother lives in Azamgarh city.
“He is innocent. He is being framed,” Khalispur gram pradhan Mohd Shoulat said.
An hour after the 3pm verdict, the Muslim majority neighborhood wore a deserted look. Apart from couple of news channel vans and curious children, no one was seen around – not even the police.
Sanjarpur village, 40 km off Khalispur, also expressed shock at the verdict. Suspected Indian Mujahideen operatives Atif Amin and Mohd Sajid who died in the Batla House encounter were from Sanjarpur. The other accused in the case are also from this village.
The families of Amin and Sajid declined to comment on the court ruling.
Shadab Ahmad Mistry, father of arrested co-accused Saif Ahmad, said, “We will fight in higher courts.” Mistry’s elder son Shanawaz Ahmad, also an accused in the case, is on the run.