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India: Jamia Teachers reiterate demand for a Judicial Probe into the Batla House ‘encounter’

by Jamia Teachers Solidarity Group, 4 February 2010

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Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association

Batla House ’Encounter’ and Congress’s ‘Healing Touch’

Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s visit to Azamgarh is being touted as the party’s reaching out to a community and town that have been reeling under a spate of arrests of alleged terror accused. Mr. Singh today claims that the photographs of the boys killed (Atif Ameen and Md. Sajid) convince him that there could be another side to the ‘encounter’ story. These photographs have not surfaced suddenly, but have been in circulation since the day of the burial of the boys, and have in fact been used by civil rights activists to argue for an independent enquiry into the ‘encounter’. They were widely published in Urdu press and a section of the English press in September 2008. Why has the Congress-led UPA consistently bulldozed the demand for a fair probe, hiding behind the sham enquiry conducted by NHRC?
Mere patronizing words and condescending visits to the families of the boys slain in the Batla House encounter cannot heal the wounds of injustices. Unless the demand for a fair and independent probe is ceded to, unless this communal witch-hunt in the name of fighting terror is halted, unless those responsible for torturing and foisting false cases against innocent Muslim youth are not punished, this healing touch can only be seen at best as a meaningless gesture, and at worst, as cynical manipulation by a political party desperate for a return of Muslim votes to its fold.

Its is to be noted that Mr. Singh’s visit was preceded by another arrest of a youth, Shehzad Ahmed, from his village Khalispur. Shehzad is alleged to have escaped from L-18 at the time of the supposed encounter. Shehzad’s arrest has followed the pattern set by previous arrests of Muslim youths: the planting of custodial confessions, extracted most likely under mental and physical torture, in the press as proof of the genuineness of the police story. This policy of duplicity—extending healing touch on the one hand, and arrests, propaganda and inordinate delay in trials on the other—continues.

JTSA reiterates its demand for a Judicial Probe into the Batla House ‘encounter’ and demands speedy trials in the Delhi and other blasts cases.

- Manisha Sethi (President)
- Adeel Mehdi (General Secretary)