Lucknow encounter staged to polarise votes in UP in BJP’s favour: Advocacy group

An advocacy group suspects the Lucknow encounter where a militant was killed Wednesday morning was staged to boost the BJP’s fortunes in the last phase of the UP elections.
UP ATS personnel outside the house where a suspected IS-inspired militant was killed Wednesday morning.(HT Photo/Deepak Gupta)
UP ATS personnel outside the house where a suspected IS-inspired militant was killed Wednesday morning.(HT Photo/Deepak Gupta)
Updated on Mar 08, 2017 05:39 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Lucknow | ByHaidar Naqvi

Rihai Manch, an advocacy group that takes up cases of minority members wrongfully arrested in terror cases has cast doubts on the Lucknow encounter that ended Wednesday morning, and has described it as a tactic by the central government to polarise the last phase of election in UP in the BJP’s favour.

It claimed that it had predicted such a scenario ahead of polls to help the BJP. The UP Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) shot dead a suspected militant in an operation that lasted nearly 12 hours on the outskirts of Lucknow early Wednesday.

Rihai Manch’s general secretary Rajeev Yadav said in a statement that the entire story leading to this action was riddled with loopholes, making it a case of political gain.

A similar attempt was made in Sambhal in the first phase of election but the Jat voters punctured the plan, said Yadav. “Such a questionable action on eve of election shows the desperation on part of the Modi government,” he said.

Manch which claims it is engaged in political mobilization against wrongful Muslim youths, has been fighting cases across the country on behalf of those it believes have been wrongfully arrested in terror cases. It came into existence after the Batla House encounter in Delhi in September 2008.

Yadav pointed out the blast in the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train Tuesday morning that set off the chain of events leading to the Lucknow encounter, was attributed to a tubelight blowout in one of the compartments. Passengers spoke about it on camera, so did SP GRP Krishna Veni who initially said that the blast was caused due to an electrical short circuit.

But the narrative changed after the Madhya Pradesh home minister Bhupendra Singh described the blast a terror strike.

Similarly, UP police were at pains to answer some straight question, said Yadav. “The police has maintained it tried for surrender of youth holed up in the house, they even made his uncle to talk to him over phone,” he said.

But no one is explaining how did the police know the name of terror suspect and where did it get the phone number of his uncle as well that of Saifullah who was killed in the action.

Some reports say the police made the gunman Saifullah speak to his brother who implored him to surrender.

He said the Manch had predicted that the security agencies would stage something like this to improve political fortunes of the BJP in this election. Before the sixth phase of polling the agencies were creating an atmosphere claiming the Prime Minister could be attacked. In the run up to the first phase of polling, a team of the special cell of Delhi police stayed in Sambhal to arrest Mohammad Usman following arrest of two persons in Gujarat.

The Madhya Pradesh police had zeroed in on four men from CCTV footage at Bhopal railway station. They were picked up from Pipariya in Hoshangabad district earlier.

These men are from Aligarh and Kanpur in UP.

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