बुधवार, 31 दिसंबर 2008

नव वर्ष पर ‘लीक कर हटकर’ सोचने की ज़रुरत

अफ़रोज़ आलम ‘साहिल’
31 दिसम्बर की शाम.... नव वर्ष की पूर्व संध्या.... हर तरफ जश्न और उत्सव का माहौल.... नए साल का सरुर के नाम पर जमकर हंगामा.... इयर एंड पार्टियां.... हर्ष-उल्लास से ओत-प्रोत नशे में धुत युवाओं की बदमस्तियां.... धूम-धाम परोस कर सपने बेचता इलेक्ट्रॉनिक मीडिया का धमाल.... पांच सितारा होटलों में पेज थ्री महफिलें.... छलकते गिलास और बरसते नोट.... एलिट क्लास और नवदौलतिया वर्ग का धन-प्रदर्शन.... गिफ्ट हैम्पर्स.... और अत्यंत महंगे कार्ड्स का आदान-प्रदान.... फिजूल-खर्ची और शाह-खर्ची के पुराने रिकॉर्ड्स तोड़ देने का जुनून.... कितनी पीड़ादायक दास्तान है उस शाम की.... यही नहीं, 31 दिसम्बर की सर्द बर्फीली रात जब करोड़ो रुपये आतिशबाज़ी में झोंके जा रहे थे,झुग्गी-झोंपड़ी वाले इलाके और फुट-पाथों पर रहने वाले लोग सर्दियों से ठिठूर कर अपनी ज़िंदगी के लिए ईश्वर से प्राथना कर रहे थे। वहीं इस अवसर पर कहीं कोई घटना न हो जाए, इसके लिए दिल्ली और अन्य शहरों में जगह-जगह रैपिड एक्शन फोर्स तैनात किये गए थे। पुलिस की गश्ती-गाड़ियां काफी सतर्क थीं।

प्रश्न यह उठता है कि यह “नव वर्ष” सेलिब्रेशन क्यों? वर्ष 2008 के दिसम्बर की 31 तारीख खत्म होते ही अचानक “नया” क्या हो गया? 30 से 31 दिसम्बर की भांति 31 दिसम्बर के अगले दिन का उदय हुआ 01 जनवरी के रुप में। 31 दिसम्बर और 01 जनवरी के बीच सामान्य अंतराल ही तो है, जो दूसरे दिनों के बीच भी पाया जाता है। “नये वर्ष का आरंभ अगर खुशियों के साथ हो तो पूरा वर्ष खुशियों में गुज़रेगा” यह कथन स्वयं कितना वैज्ञानिक और कितना अंधविश्वास पर आधारित है, तर्क व विज्ञान की बात करने वालों की नज़र इस पर क्यों नहीं जाती? तथाकथित आधुनिकता और प्रगतिशीलता के राग अलापने वाले “महानगरीय जीवी” इस पर विचार क्यों नहीं करते कि ये स्वयं कितना पुरातन एवं प्रतिगामी विचार है। यदि हम पीछे ही मुड़कर देखें कि पिछले वर्ष का आरंभ भी हमने इसी हर्ष-उल्लास व मौज-मस्ती के साथ किया था। लेकिन ज़रा सोचिए कितनी खुशियां समेटी हमने पिछले वर्ष...?

लेकिन हां! यदि इस अवसर पर बीते वर्ष का विभिन्न स्तरों पर विश्लेषण हो और विभिन्न पहलुओं से सही लेखा-जोखा सामने लाया जाए और आने वाले वर्ष के लिए Area of action तलाश किए जाएं तो इस प्रकार की इयर एंड पार्टियां सकारात्मक और सार्थक हो सकती हैं। नए संकल्प के साथ हम नव वर्ष का वास्तविक अभिवादन कर सकते हैं और तब ये आने वाला वर्ष सही मायनों में हमारे लिए “नया” साल बन पाएगा।

तो आईए इस नव वर्ष में कुछ अलग करते हैं। बोले तो....... “लीक से हटकर”
और यदि आप वास्तव में लीक से हटकर कुछ करना चाहते हैं या पढ़ना चाहते हैं तो हमें leaksehatkar@gmail.com पर मेल करें।

बुधवार, 17 दिसंबर 2008

अफरोज आलम'साहिल'

19 सितम्बर की सुबह.......... एक सामान्य दिन....... काम करने वाले अपने-अपने दफ्तरों की तरफ़ कूच कर चुके थे........ छात्र-छात्राएं रोज़ की तरह अपने-अपने स्कूल व कॉलेज जा चुके थे....... और जो लोग घरों में थे वो जुमे के नमाज़ में शामिल होने की तय्यारी कर रहे थे....... पर अचानक गोलियों की तडतडाहट के साथ ही हमारे फ़ोन की घंटियाँ घनघनाने लगती हैं....... "अरे...! बटला हाउस में गोली चल रही है क्या....?" "यह मैं क्या सुन रहा हूँ....?" "अरे.....! तुम्हारे इलाके में तो आतंकवादी रहते हैं......" और फिर टीवी चैनलों पर भी चीख पुकार मच जाती है। इस चीख पुकार में जिसको जो दिल चाहा ,दिल खोल कर बोला। किसने क्या कहा....? इसे दुबारा आपके समक्ष रखने की कोई ज़रूरत मैं महसूस नही करता। ये चीख पुकार अगले दो-तीन दिनों तक कायम रही। इसके बाद कुछ नरमी ज़रूर बरती गई। लेकिन दो-तीन दिनों के इस चीख पुकार ने अवाम को हर तरह से जागरूक किया। बल्कि इसने एक तबके को इतना जागरूक कर दिया कि लोगों का इलेक्ट्रॉनिक मीडिया पर से यकीन ही ख़त्म हो गया। इस प्रकार इस घटना के बाद जहाँ इलेक्ट्रॉनिक मीडिया के साख पर बट्टा लगा,वहीँ प्रिंट मीडिया अपनी साख बचाने में कामयाब रही।


लेकिन यहाँ भी मीडिया दो खेमो में बटी नज़र आई । एक खेमा इस इनकाउन्टर को दिल्ली पुलिस कि सबसे बड़ी सफलता मान रही थी, तो दूसरा खेमा इस सफलता को 'फर्जी'। मेरी नज़र में यकीनन दिल्ली पुलिस कि ये सबसे बड़ी कामयाबी थी। क्यूंकि देश का हर नागरिक आतंकवाद व बम धमाकों की घटनाओं से परेशान हो चुका था। और सबसे बड़ी बात यह थी कि मीडिया के जो लोग इस कामयाबी को फर्जी मान रहे थे, उनके पास भी कोई ठोस तर्क या दलील नही थे। सिर्फ़ लोगों के बयानों के आधार पर खबरें लिखी जा रही थी। खैर अपनी जगह ये भी दुरुस्त थे। क्यूंकि एक बहुत बड़ा वर्ग दिल्ली पुलिस के इस कामयाबी पर उनकी पीठ थपथपाने को कतई तैयार नही था. ज़ाहिर सी बात है कि मीडिया को भी सरकार के इस वोट बैंक को अपना पाठक या खरीदार जो बनाना था.


बातें बहुत सारी हैं। मैं भी लोगों कि बातें और मीडिया कि रिपोर्टिंग पढ़ व देख कर पक चुका था. लेकिन मास कम्युनिकेशन का छात्र होने के नाते मेरी भी कुछ ज़िम्मेदारी बनती है. मेरे लिए सबसे बड़ी बात यह है कि देश में मौजूद हर कानून पर मेरा बहुत यकीन है. फिर मैंने भी सूचना के अधिकार कानून का इस्तेमाल किया. मैंने चार विभागों, जिसमे सुप्रीम कोर्ट, नेशनल ह्यूमन राईट कमीशन ,एम्स और दिल्ली पुलिस शामिल है.


मेरे इस काम को हिंदुस्तान टाईम्स ने सराहा। बाकी के एक-दो और अखबारों में मेरे इस काम की ख़बर आई. बाद में भी कुछ पत्रकार मित्र इस सम्बन्ध में आने वाले जवाब के बारे में मुझसे पूछते रहे. एम्स और एन.एच.आर.सी. के इलावा बाकी के दोनों विभागों ने कोई जवाब देना मुनासिब नहीं समझा और एम्स ने भी आर.टी.आई. के ग़लत तर्कों के द्वारा सूचना देने से इनकार कर दिया. सूचना देने से इनकार करना और फिर दिल्ल्ली पुलिस और सुप्रीम कोर्ट जैसे संस्थान का कोई जवाब न देना,अपने आप में एक बड़ी ख़बर थी. क्यूंकि जहाँ एक तरफ़ आर.टी.आई. कानून का उलंघन किया जा रहा था. वही इस बात का भी ठोस प्रमाण मिल रहा था कि दाल में ज़रूर कुछ काला है. बी.बी.सी. ने इस ख़बर के महत्व को समझा और इस विषय पर अपने रेडियो व वेबसाइट पर प्रमुखता से जगह दी. इंडियन एक्सप्रेस, हिंदुस्तान, और नई दुनिया आदि ने अपने अखबार के अंदर थोडी सी जगह दे कर अपनी ज़िम्मेदारी निभा दी. इसी का असर रहा कि अगले ही दिनों बाकी के दोनों विभागों से भी जवाब मिल गए. एम्स कि तरह एक बार फ़िर दिल्ली पुलिस ने आर.टी.आई. का मखौल बनाया, और सूचना देने से मना कर दिया. क्यूंकि दिल्ली पुलिस अपने को आर.टी.आई. से परे मानती है. दिल्ली पुलिस ने एक बार यह साबित कर दिया कि पुलिसिया विभाग में किसी कि नहीं चलती, चाहे हम जो कर ले. सुप्रीम कोर्ट जैसे संस्थान ने भी अपने को सर्वोपरी माना. उन्होंने यह साबित करने कि कोशिश की कि उनकी नज़र में आर.टी.आई. कि कोई औकात नहीं है. इस तरह उन्होंने अधूरी सूचना दे कर अपना पल्ला झाड़ने की कोशिश की. वहीँ एन.एच.आर.सी. ने बताया कि अब तक उनके समक्ष २५६० इनकाउन्टर के मामले आए हैं, जिन में से १६ को वह फर्जी मानती है. लेकिन इन्होने भी इन १६ फर्जी इनकाउन्टर कि डिटेल्स देनी मुनासिब नहीं समझा.


इस प्रकार एक बार फ़िर मीडिया के लिए एक अच्छी व बड़ी ख़बर थी, चाहे वो बटला हाउस इनकाउन्टर के हवाले से हो, या फिर आर.टी.आई. के हवाले से. लेकिन पुनः इंडियन एक्सप्रेस को छोड़ कर किसी ने भी इस ख़बर को अपने पाठक को परोसनी मुनासिब नहीं समझी. हालांकि कुछ पत्रकारों ने इस ख़बर पर मेहनत करके अपनी स्टोरी फाइल भी की, लेकिन डेस्क से इसे हटा लिया गया. क्यूंकि ये ख़बर मीडिया द्वारा स्थापित फोर सी थेओरी (क्रिकेट,क्राईम,सिनेमा और सलेबरिटी) को फौलो नहीं कर रहा था. या फ़िर ऊपर से कोई प्रेशर काम कर रहा था या फ़िर यह कह लीजिए कि इस ख़बर का सामाजिक सरोकार था, तो ऐसे में यह ख़बर कैसे छपे. इस वजह से यह ख़बर हटानी पड़ गई. और वैसे भी मीडिया सरोकार फरोकार को नही. मानती, यह सब फालतू के चोंचले हैं.

रविवार, 14 दिसंबर 2008

लीक से हटकर.....

प्रिय दोस्तों/आदरणीय लेखकगण..........


आप लीक से हट कर सोचते तो बहुत कुछ हैं........


पर आपकी इस सोच को कोई सुनने को तैयार नहीं.........

और जैसे ही अन्दर दबी इस ‘सोच’ को बाहर लाने की कोशिश करते हैं......

तो फिर अपने ही आप से ‘कन्नी’ काटना आरंभ कर देते हैं और फिर आपकी वो सोच आपके सीने के अन्दर ही दफ़न हो कर रह जाती है।


पर हम आपकी इस सोच को सीने में दफ़न होने नहीं देंगे....... क्योंकि आपके तरह ही बहुत से लोग ऐसे हैं, जो आपके तरह ही लीक से हट कर सोचते हैं। हम आपके इस सोच को इन्हीं लोगों तक पहुंचाएंगे अपनी मासिक पत्रिका के माध्यम से......


जी हां! एक ऐसी पत्रिका जो वास्तव में लीक से हट कर होगी, और उसका नाम भी लीक से हट कर होगा।
अरे क्या सोच रहे हैं जनाब........ "लीक से हट कर "ही नाम है इस पत्रिका का।

दरअसल यह हमारी नहीं बल्कि आपकी पत्रिका है, जिसे हम इसी महीने प्रकाशित करने जा रहे हैं.......


तो फिर अब देर किस बात की। उठाईए क़लम और लिख डालिए अपनी उस नायाब सोच को।


क्योंकि अब वक्त है लीक से हट कर कुछ करने का...... लीक से हट कर कुछ लिखने का........


आप अपनी रचना हमें leaksehatkar@gmail.com पर भेजें।

मंगलवार, 25 नवंबर 2008

राजनीतिक दल भूले भोपाल गैस पीड़ितों को

पाणिनी आनंद
भारत में इन दिनों विधानसभा चुनावों का मौसम है. पाँच राज्यों की लड़ाई पर देशभर की नज़र है. राजनीति हो रही है, मुद्दे उछाले जा रहे हैं, उपलब्धियाँ गिनाई जा रही हैं, वोट मांगे जा रहे हैं.
पर मध्य प्रदेश के राजनीतिक दलों को शायद 24 साल से तड़प रही राज्य की राजधानी की लगभग आधी आबादी का मुद्दा इस बार शायद मुद्दा ही नहीं लग रहा है.
वर्ष 1984 में हुई दुनिया की सबसे बड़ी औद्योगिक त्रासदी यानी भोपाल गैस कांड को स्थानीय स्तर पर ही राजनीतिक दलों ने अनदेखा कर दिया है.
हालाँकि भारतीय जनता पार्टी और कांग्रेस ने अपने घोषणा पत्रों के भीतरी पृष्ठों में इस त्रासदी के पीड़ितों के लिए राहत के प्रयास करने की बात कही है पर राजनीतिक मंचों पर यह मुद्दा एकदम नदारद ही है. बाकी राजनीतिक दल भी इस पर कुछ कहते, बोलते नज़र नहीं आ रहे हैं.
मध्यप्रदेश से बीबीसी संवाददाता फ़ैसल मोहम्मद अली ने बताया कि इस बार किसी भी पार्टी की ओर से भोपाल गैस पीड़ितों का मुद्दा नहीं उठाया जा रहा है. पीड़ितों ने ज़रूर एक-दो मोर्चे, रैली निकालकर अपने इस मुद्दे को चर्चा में लाने की कोशिश की पर राजनीतिक पार्टियों के कान में जूँ रेंगती नज़र नहीं आ रही है.
क्यों भूले भोपाल त्रासदी
भोपाल गैस पीड़ितों के सवालों को लेकर सक्रिय सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता अब्दुल जब्बार ने बीबीसी को बताया, "यह विडंबना ही है कि 12 लाख मतदाताओं वाले भोपाल में लगभग पाँच लाख प्रभावितों का मुद्दा इस बार अनदेखा कर दिया गया है. दरअसल, साफ़ दिख रहा है कि राजनीतिक दलों के लिए ग़रीब और उनके सवाल अब फ़ोकस नहीं रह गए हैं."
जब्बार इसकी वजहों को समझाने की कोशिश करते हुए कहते हैं कि 24 बरसों पुरानी इस त्रासदी के लिए लोगों को जो भी राहत या सहायता मिली, उसकी वजह राजनीतिक दल नहीं रहे, हाईकोर्ट या सुप्रीम कोर्ट इसकी वजह थे. राजनीतिक दलों ने तो इस मुद्दे पर केवल राजनीतिक रोटियाँ सेंकीं हैं.
भोपाल गैस पीड़ितों के सवालों पर नज़र रखते आए कुछ विशेषज्ञों से जब इस सिलसिले में बात की तो उन्होंने बताया कि राज्य में मोतालाल वोरा की सरकार के बाद से किसी भी मुख्यमंत्री ने भोपाल गैस पीड़ितों के लिए ऐसा कुछ नहीं किया, जिसे संतोषजनक कहा जा सके.
और तो और, अब गैस पीड़ितों के लिए बने अस्पताल, राहत कोषों और अन्य योजनाओं पर भी ताला लगाने की बारी आती दिखाई दे रही है.
जानकार बताते हैं कि भाजपा ने इस मुद्दे को पिछले चुनाव तक उठाया तो पर कोशिश नए भोपाल के लोगों को भी (जो हिंदू बहुल इलाक़ा है) मुआवज़ा दिलाने की लड़ाई बनकर ही रह गया और पीड़ित को पीड़ित नहीं, पहचान की नज़र से देखा जाने लगा.
भोपाल गैस पीड़ित इस सिलसिले में वर्तमान प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह से लेकर केंद्र और राज्य सरकार के कई नेताओं को आड़े हाथों लेते हैं.
नहीं भरे गैस पीड़ितों के घाव
पीड़ितों की पदयात्रा
ग़ौरतलब है कि 1989 में यूनियन कार्बाइड से सात अरब 15 करोड़ रुपए का समझौता हुआ था वह इस आधार पर था कि गैस रिसाव से तीन हज़ार लोगों की मौत हुई थी और एक लाख बीस हज़ार लोग प्रभावित हुए थे.
लेकिन चार साल पहले जो आधिकारिक आंकड़े आए उनके अनुसार अब तक इस दुर्घटना में मारे गए लोगों की संख्या 15 हज़ार है और पाँच लाख से अधिक पीड़ित हैं. इसके बाद से ही पुनर्वास से लेकर स्वास्थ्य और बाकी राहतों की माँग और मज़बूत हुई है.
दलों का दोहरा चरित्र..?
1984 में जब भोपाल गैस त्रासदी हुई थी तो भारतीय जनता पार्टी ने कांग्रेस नेतृत्ववाली सरकार की मंशा, राहतकार्यों और प्रतिबद्धता को मुद्दा बनाया था. कांग्रेस के कुछ नेताओं पर विपक्ष ने यूनियन कार्बाइड का पक्ष लेने के आरोप लगाए.
इस तरह दो दशकों से इस मुद्दे पर राजनीति होती रही पर भोपाल गैस पीड़ित अभी भी अभावों और तकलीफ़ की कहानी दोहराने को विवश हैं. कभी राज्य के चौराहों पर तो कभी दिल्ली की सड़कों पर.
पिछले पाँच बरसों से राज्य में भाजपा की सरकार है. मध्यप्रदेश में राज्य सरकार के वर्तमान गैस राहत मंत्री और पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री बाबूलाल गौर से हमने इस बारे में पूछा कि क्या कारण है कि भोपाल गैस पीड़ित उनका विरोध कर रहे हैं और उनपर गैस पीड़ितों के लिए कुछ न करने का आरोप लगा रहे हैं.
इसके जवाब में गौर ने भोपाल गैस पीड़ितों की उपेक्षा की बात को बेबुनियाद बताया और कहा कि भोपाल गैस पीड़ित भोपाल के केवल उतने हिस्से में नहीं हैं, जिनकी लड़ाई एनजीओ और जनसंगठन लड़ने का दावा कर रहे हैं, बल्कि नए भोपाल के भी लोग इससे प्रभावित हुए थे.
उन्होंने कहा, "नए भोपाल के लोगों को राहत मुआवज़े की बात करके इस मुद्दे को और बड़ा बनाया है. उपेक्षा हुई है पर राज्य की ओर से नहीं, केंद्र की ओर से. केंद्र सरकार से कई बार गुहार लगाने के बाद भी यूपीए पीड़ितों की मदद के लिए आगे नहीं आ रही है."
कहने, करने का फ़र्क
इसी वर्ष सूचना का अधिकार क़ानून के तहत जब देश के प्रमुख राजनीतिक दलों को मिल रहे चंदे का हिसाब मांगा गया तो पता चला कि गैस प्लांट की वर्तमान मालिक डाओ कैमिकल्स ने भारतीय जनता पार्टी के कोष में भी चंदा जमा करवाया है.
राजनीतिक दल किनसे ले रहे हैं चंदा
ऐसे में कुछ लोग यह भी कह रहे हैं कि डाओ कैमिकल्स से चंदा ले चुकी पार्टी अब किस नैतिकता की चादर ओढ़कर लोगों से भोपाल गैस पीड़ितों को राहत की बात कहे और कांग्रेस पर कीचड़ उछाले.
पर बाबूलाल गौर इस सवाल पर अलग राय रखते हैं, उन्होंने यह सवाल उठाने पर कहा, "चंदा हमें नहीं, दिल्ली में दिया गया. उन्होंने पैसा जबरन भेज दिया तो क्या किया जा सकता था. फिर चंदा भी केवल एक लाख रूपए का ही था. उससे हम क्या करेंगे. इतना पैसा तो आजकल एक पार्षद को मिल जाता है."
जानकार मानते हैं कि डाओ कैमिकल्स से चंदे का मुद्दा सामने आने के बाद भाजपा के लिए भी भोपाल गैस पीड़ितों के मुद्दे को ज़ोरदार ढंग से उठाना और कांग्रेस को इस मुद्दे पर घेरना आसान नहीं रह गया है.
वजहें जो भी गिनाई जाएं, तर्क जो भी मिलें पर इतना तो साफ़ है कि सियासत के नए और उथले दांवों से खेली जा रही राजनीति की कुश्ती में मानवीय और नैतिक सवालों पर अब ध्यान कम ही दिया जा रहा है.
भोपाल गैस एक मुद्दा है. कुपोषण, शिक्षा, पुनर्वास और बदतर स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं पर भी चुनावी बिगुल कहाँ सुनाई दे रहे हैं.
घोषणा पत्र में स्याही के कुछ छींटे ज़रूर हैं पर लोग पार्टियों को घोषणा पत्रों के ज़रिए नहीं पहचानते और जिन्हें वे पहचानते हैं, उनकी ज़बान से ऐसी कई त्रासदियाँ, ऐसे कई मुद्दे ग़ायब हैं.

रविवार, 23 नवंबर 2008

Media fails to report Batla encounter reality


Afroz Alam'Sahil'
THE MORNING of September 19, waslike any ordinary day, working people had gone to their offices, students had gone to their schools or colleges and those who had stayed back were preparing to take part in Friday ‘namaaz’. But suddenly with the sound of bullets our phones also began ringing incessantly. Where are you? There is a shootout going on at Batla House. There are terrorists in your area and an uproar in the media world. (In this hue and cry everybody said what they wanted to. I don’t think it is necessary to repeat those statements.) This hue and cry continued for the next two days. After which there was some respite. But it awakened the public. Infact, this commotion awakened a community so much that they lost all faith in the electronic media but the print media succeeded in saving its skin.
But here, the media seemed to be divided into two factions. One faction believed the encounter to be Delhi Police’s biggest success while the other was deeming this success as a fallacy. Some people of this faction even refused to call it an encounter. They say that it will be better to call it a murder. I thought this encounter to be a big success of the Delhi Police as every citizen of this country was getting fed up of terrorism and bomb blasts. A section of the media who were calling it a farce had no concrete proof. News was written only on the basis of hear-say. The reality remained a mystery as a very large group was not ready to congratulate the Delhi Police for this success. Plus, the media also had to capture this segment of the government’s vote bank as their customers.
Even I was getting weary of listening and hearing different opinions. But being a mass communication student, even I have some responsibilities. I have full faith in the country’s laws. I used the Right to Information Act and sought some information from institutions like AIIMS, NHRC, Delhi Police and the Supreme Court. I hoped some truth would come out from their answers as the Delhi Police had hidden vital information. And here my work was appreciated by the Hindustan Times and a few more newspapers also reported about my RTI application.
Apart from the AIIMS and NHRC, the other two departments did not care to reply to my application. And the AIIMS also refused to give any information. While the RTI Act was being violated, on the other hand it was obvious that something was definitely wrong.

मंगलवार, 18 नवंबर 2008

No right to information

Even under the Right To Information Act, departments related to the case have denied information on what transpired in the Batla House encounter. DIPU SHAW says one and a half months later the truth about the encounter still remains shrouded in mystery.

Part of what fuelled the anger of the Muslim community after the Batla House encounter in Jamia Nagar was the fact that that they got little information afterwards on what exactly transpired. The September 19, 2008 police encounter in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar killed two suspected terrorists allegedly involved in Delhi serial blasts, Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajed, along with a police officer, Mohan Chand Sharma.

One and a half months after the case, the truth about the encounter and subsequent arrests that followed it, still remains shrouded in mystery. Even under the Right To Information Act, departments related to the case have denied information. It leaves a suspicion that there is a deliberate attempt to camouflage the truth.

The Jaiprakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre of AIIMS has turned down the request to provide information about the post mortem reports saying that the case was related to Medico Legal Records. They refused to provide information under Sections 8(1) b and 8(1) h of the RTI to a petitioner, Afroz Alam Sahil.

Section 8(1) b of the Right To Information Act – 2005 states that information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court cannot be provided to a RTI petitioner.

Section 8(1) h states that information cannot be provided about matters which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of the offenders.

Both do not apply to the Batla House Encounter case, according to a legal expert. “The arguments given by AIIMS is totally baseless”, says Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court lawyer. “No orders or ruling has been passed by the court to withhold information regarding the case. And by no means it can amount to contempt of court”, he adds.

Asked if the information in any way could impede the process of investigation, the seasoned lawyer says, “What does it have to do with the investigations?”

The Delhi Police has also tried to evade questions on the issue. It prefers to answer only three out of the six questions asked in a RTI petition in connection with the encounter and subsequent arrests. These answers too are denials.
It declined to provide the post mortem report of the deceased in the case citing section 8(1)h of the RTI Act-05 as AIIMS had done. Interestingly, the Office of the Dy. Commissioner of Police, Crime, Delhi, makes no mention of the other questions asked in the petition. The petitioner had also asked to provide the number of people arrested in connection to the serial blasts in the capital on September 13 and the places from where they were arrested. In addition, it was asked if the police have evidence against those who have been arrested. The Delhi police did not feel it was necessary to answer these questions.

According to the National Human Rights Commission, so far 2560 cases of police encounter/alleged fake encounter has come up before it. The Commission has so far granted compensation in sixteen cases of police encounter/alleged fake encounter. The statistics adds to the suspicion of the people. The Delhi Police has not done anything substantial to alleviate doubts from the minds of the people of the community. Poor reporting and confusion on the part of journalists has also increased doubts and distrust.

http://www.thehoot.org/web/home/story.php?storyid=3441&mod=1&pg=1&sectionId=1&valid=true#

मुख्य मंत्री की कुवैत यात्रा, खर्च महज १०हजार

अर्जुन कुमार बसाक
हाल ही में मुख्य मंत्री शीला दीक्षित ने अपनी संम्पत्ति करीब एक करोड़ बताई है। इसे देखकर लगता है कि वह में मध्यम वर्ग श्रेणी की हैं। उसके संम्पत्ति में दो-तिहाई से ज्यादा का सिर्फ अपने घर की कीमत बताई है, घर को छोड़ दें तो उनके पास महज 30-35 लाख् की संम्पत्ति है।

यह अच्छी बात है हमारे जन नेत्री भी लगभग हमारी ही तरह है। लेकिन इसमें कितनी सच्चाई है, हाल में सूचना के अधिकार के तहत मिले मुख्य मंत्री जी के विदेश यात्राओं के विवरण से अंदाजा लगाया जा सकता है। यह सूचना के अधिकार आवेदन सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता ने दाखिल किया था। आवेदन के जवाब में बताया गया है कि एक जनवरी 2007 से अब तक सीएम शीला ने कुल् चार विदेश यात्रा की है इसमें सबसे पहले अप्रैल 2007 में एशियन ओलोंपिक काउंसिल के मीटिंग में शामिल होने के लिए कुवैत गईं थीं। जिसका कुल खर्च महज 10 हजार एक सौ बानवे रूपये बताया गया है। मुख्य मंत्री की यात्रा है तो साथ में कुछ और लोग भी जाते है। इससे लगता है कि हमारी मुख्य मंत्री फिजूल खर्चा से बचती हैं, लेकिन इसके बावजूद मुख्य मंत्री की विदेश यात्रा में कुल खर्च महज दस हजार के करीब। बताए गए खर्च में प्रशन चिन्ह खरा करता है। पिछले साल मई में सिटिज क्लाईमेट चेंज्ा के मिटिंग में शिरकत के लिए न्यूयार्क गईं थीं। जिसका कुल खर्च करीब 6 लाख् 13 हजार बताया गया है। सितंबर 2007 में बेरारूस के येरावन और मिंस्क शहरों के यात्रा का कुल खर्च महज 1 लाख् 68 हजार के करीब बताया है। इसके अलावा इस साल मार्च में चीन के बिजिंग और तियानजीन के यात्रा का खर्च 1 लाख् 83 हजार सात सौ पैतालीस रूपये बताया गया है। मामला जैसा भी विवरण को देखे तो यही लगता है हमारी माननीय मुख्य मंत्री जी बिल्कुल ही फिजूलखर्ची नहीं है। चुनाव के बाद ऐसे मुख्य मंत्री रहीं या आई या आया तो प्रश्न चिन्ह वाले फिजूलखर्ची से बचने वाले और नेताओं की और भी जानकारी मिलने की उम्मीद की जा सकती है।

शीला का कुवैत तक सफर खर्च किए महज दस हजार

नई दिल्ली, जागरण संवाददाता : चुनावी मौसम में मुख्यमंत्री शीला दीक्षित पर विपक्षी आरोपों की भरमार कर रहे हैं। सियासत की बात तो राजनेता ही जानें, पर आंकड़ों की मानें, तो शीला ने विदेश यात्राओं में फिजूलखर्ची नहीं की है। सूचना के अधिकार के तहत मांगी गई जानकारी के मुताबिक, शीला दीक्षित ने कुवैत तक सफर महज दस हजार रुपये में कर लिया। उनकी बाकी विदेश यात्राओं के मद में एक से छह लाख रुपये तक खर्च किए गए हैं। सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता अफरोज आलम साहिल के आवेदन के जवाब में बताया गया है कि एक जनवरी, 2007 से अब तक मुख्यमंत्री शीला दीक्षित ने कुल चार विदेश यात्राएं की हंै। सबसे पहले अप्रैल, 2007 में एशियन ओलंपिक काउंसिल की मीटिंग में शामिल होने के लिए वे कुवैत गई थीं। इसमें कुल खर्च महज 10 हजार, 192 रुपये आया था। बीते साल साल मई में वे सिटीज क्लाइमेट चेंज मीटिंग में शिरकत करने न्यूयॉर्क गई थीं। इसमें 6 लाख 13 हजार रुपये खर्च हुए थे। सितंबर 2007 में शीला ने बेलारूस के येरावन और मिंस्क शहरों की यात्रा 1 लाख 68 हजार में कर ली थी। 2008 में चीन के बीजिंग और तियांजीन का यात्रा खर्च 1 लाख 83 हजार 745 रुपये आया है।ज्ञात हो कि शीला दीक्षित ने हाल में ही अपनी संपत्ति करीब एक करोड़ बताई है। उनकी संपत्ति में दो-तिहाई से ज्यादा कीमत घर की है, इसके अलावा, उनके पास 30-35 लाख की संपत्ति ही है। इस तरह वे दिल्ली के मध्यवर्ग में शामिल मानी जा सकती हैं।

शनिवार, 15 नवंबर 2008

Batla House encounter: Is the truth being withheld?


The October 19, Batla House encounter, which created ripples throughout the country has now left suspicion that there was a deliberate attempt to camouflage the truth। Departments related to the case have declined to share any information.

ONE THING responsible for fuelling the anger of the minority community after the Batla House encounter was that they remained uninformed about the state of affairs. They did not get any detailed briefing about the incident. The case apparently lacked transparency.
On September 19, police encounter in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar killed two suspected terrorists allegedly involved in Delhi serial blasts, Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajed, along with a police officer, Mohan Chand Sharma.
One and a half months after the case, the truth about the encounter and subsequent arrests that followed it, still remains shrouded in mystery. Even under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, the various departments that were related to the case have denied to pass on the information. It leaves a suspicion that there is a deliberate attempt to camouflage the truth.
The Jaiprakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre of AIIMS has turned down the request to provide information about the post mortem reports saying that the case was related to Medico Legal Records.
They refused to provide information under Sections 8(1) b and 8(1) h of the RTI to a petitioner, Afroz Alam Sahil.
Section 8(1) b of the Right To Information Act – 2005 states that information, which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure, of which may constitute contempt of court cannot be provided to an RTI petitioner.
Section 8(1) h states that information cannot be provided about matters, which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of the offenders.
Wrong arguments
Both do not apply to the Batla House encounter case, according to experts. “The arguments given by AIIMS are totally baseless,” said Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court lawyer. “No orders or ruling has been passed by the court to withhold information regarding the case. And by no means it can amount to contempt of court,” he added.
Asked if the information in any way could impede the process of investigation, the seasoned lawyer said, “What does it have to do with the investigations?”
The Delhi police
The Delhi police also tried to evade questions on the issue। It preferred to answer only three out of six questions asked in the RTI petition in connection with the encounter and subsequent arrests. The answers too were only denials instead of information.

It declined to provide the post mortem report of the deceased in the case citing section 8(1)h of the RTI Act-05 as AIIMS had done. Interestingly, the office of the deputy commissioner of police (DCP), crime, Delhi, makes no mention of the other questions asked in the petition. The petitioner had also asked to provide the number of people arrested in connection to the serial blasts in the capital on September 13 and the places from where they were arrested. In addition, it was asked if the police have any evidence against those who have been arrested. The Delhi police did not feel it was necessary to answer these questions.
According to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), so far 2560 cases of police encounter/alleged fake encounter has come up before it। The commission has so far granted compensation in 16 cases of police encounter/alleged fake encounter. The statistics add to the suspicion of the people. The Delhi police has not done anything substantial to alleviate doubts from the minds of the people of the community. Poor reporting and confusion on the part of journalists has also helped the cause of doubts and distrust.

शुक्रवार, 14 नवंबर 2008

विदेश यात्राएं....


अफरोज आलम 'साहिल'
आज भारतीय विदेश यात्राएं करते ही रहते हैं, और जब बात नेताओं की हो तो 'ये' खूब करते हैं. पर आप जानते हैं कि इनके इन विदेश यात्राओं पर खर्च कितना होता है....? नहीं न! पर अब यह संभव है,क्यूंकि "सूचना के अधिकार अधिनियम -२००५" के माध्यम से अपने नेताओं कि विदेश यात्राओं पर खर्च हुए रक़म को भी जान सकते हैं.

मैंने भी "सूचना के अधिकार" का प्रयोग करते हुए दिल्ली कि मुख्यमंत्री श्रीमती शीला दीक्षित द्वारा 01 जनवरी 2007 से ले कर अब तक कि गयी विदेश यात्राओं के खर्च का ब्यौरा माँगा,तो कुछ दिलचस्प आंकडे निकल कर आये.


अरे आप कहाँ खो गए.....? आप जो कुछ सोच रहे हैं,वो दुरुस्त नहीं है. हमारी शीला जी इतनी खर्चीली नहीं हैं. जी हाँ! आपको जानकार शायद हैरानी हो,पर यह सच है.


जी! हमारी मुख्यमंत्री जी 16 जनवरी 2007 से 17 जनवरी 2007 तक एशियन ओलंपिक काउंसिल कि मीटिंग में शामिल होने कुवैत गयी और खर्च हुआ सिर्फ 10,192 (दस हज़ार एक सौ बानवे) रूपए.........(ये रक़म दैनिक भत्ता व अन्य खर्चों के हैं)


क्यूँ आप चौंक गए ना....! आप को तो शायद यकीन ही नही हो रहा होगा...? यही नही,शीला जी इस वर्ष यानी 25 मई 2008 से 31 मई 2008 तक बीजिंग और तियानजिन ,चीन के दौरे पर रही,और सात दिन के इस दौरे पर खर्च हुआ सिर्फ 1,83,745 रूपए.
दिनांक 04-09-2007 से 09-09-2007 तक शीला जी येरावन और मिन्स्क (बेलारूस) के दौरे पर रही. यहाँ शीला जी मिन्स्क नगर की 940 वी वर्ष गाँठ समारोह में शामिल होने आई थी. और यहाँ खर्च हुआ सिर्फ 1,68,660 रूपए..........
क्यूँ अच्छा लग रहा है ना यह सब जानकार...... वाकई हमें शीला जी की तारीफ़ करनी होगी, कि वह फिजूलखर्ची से कितना बचती हैं. खैर चलते- चलते अब बात अमेरिका कि भी हो जाए. जी हाँ...! शीला जी 14 मई 2007 को न्यूयार्क गयी और 17 मई 2007 तक रही. यहाँ शीला जी "Large cities climate change" कि मीटिंग में शामिल होने आई थी. यहाँ खर्च हुआ 6,13,072 रूपए.....क्यूँ थोडा ज्यादा हो गया ना....? खैर, इतना तो चलता ही है..... आगे ख्याल रखेंगी, अगर आपने अपने कीमती वोट देकर दुबारा सत्ता में पहुंचा दिया तो......
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गुरुवार, 13 नवंबर 2008

The aftermath of Batla House encounter….

Deepu Shaw.
One thing responsible for fuelling the anger of the Muslim community after the Batla House encounter was that they remained uninformed about the state of affairs. No police or government official ever felt the need to give them a detailed briefing about the incident. The case lacked transparency.
The September 19, police encounter in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar killed two Muslim youths, Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajid along with a police officer, Mohan Chand Sharma.
One and a half months after the case, the truth about the encounter and subsequent arrests that followed it, still remains shrouded in mystery. Even under the Right To Information Act, the various departments that were related to the case have denied to pass on the information. It leaves a suspicion that there is a deliberate attempt to camouflage the truth.

The Jaiprakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre of AIIMS has turned down the request to provide information about the post mortem reports saying that the case was related to Medico Legal Records.
They refused to provide information under Sections 8(1) b and 8(1) h of the RTI to a petitioner, Afroz Alam Sahil.
Section 8(1) b of the Right To Information Act – 2005 states that information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court cannot be provided to a RTI petitioner.
Section 8(1) h states that information cannot be provided about matters which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of the offenders.

Wrong arguments
Both do not apply to the Batla House Encounter case. “The arguments given by AIIMS is totally baseless”, says Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court lawyer. “No orders or ruling has been passed by the court to withhold information regarding the case. And by no means it can amount to contempt of court”, he adds.
Asked if the information in any way could impede the process of investigation, the lawyer says, “What does it have to do with the investigations?”

The Delhi police
The Delhi Police has also tried to evade questions on the issue. The answers too are only denials instead of information.
It declined to provide the post mortem report of the deceased in the case citing section 8(1)h of the RTI Act-05 as AIIMS had done. The petitioner had also asked to provide the number of people arrested in connection to the serial blasts in the capital on September 13 and the places from where they were arrested. In addition, it was asked if the police have evidence against those who have been arrested.

According to the National Human Rights Commission, so far 2560 cases of police encounter/alleged fake encounter has come up before it. The Commission has so far granted compensation in sixteen cases of police encounter/alleged fake encounter.
(The writer is a freelance journalist and media critic)

शनिवार, 8 नवंबर 2008

Batla encounter: Jamia resident draws 'vague' replies on RTI

Sahim Salim
Says Supreme Court, Delhi Police, NHRC and AIIMS gave out little information.
A jamia Nagar resident has drawn a blank from all quarters — Supreme Court, Delhi Police, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and AIIMS ¿ on his RTI application seeking information on the September 19 encounter at Batla House in South Delhi.
According to Afroz Alam Sahil, he had filed four separate applications under the RTI Act on September 25, and the replies, he claims, are vague at best.
The apex court and city police replied 40 days after he filed the RTI, Sahil says.
Alam said he had posed six questions, of which the police submitted answers to just three. The police ignored questions related to the number of arrests and detentions made after the serial blasts in the Capital on September 13.
Alam had also asked for a copy of the postmortem reports of the two alleged militants and Inspector M C Sharma, all killed in the encounter, and the copy of the FIR lodged afterwards. While the police refused to part with copies of the autopsy saying “disclosure of the information may impede investigation”, they said “the copy of FIR can only be provided to the complainant”.
In the RTI application filed to the Supreme Court, Alam had asked how many cases had been filed against people or organisations in blast cases, and punishment meted out to those convicted. Alam also asked whether there were any cases in which Delhi Police had made arrests but could not provide evidence.
Supreme Court replied that “cases against terrorists are not directly filed in the court”, and “it is beyond the jurisdiction and scope of duties of the CPIO (Central Public Information Officer) under the RTI Act to interpret law and judgments of the Supreme Court.”
Alam had requested AIIMS to give a copy of the postmortem but the hospital said it could not give out a copy since it was related to the medico legal records (MLC) under Sections 8(1)b and 8(1)h of the RTI Act. These sections are meant for information expressly forbidden to be published by any court. NHRC was asked about the number of police encounters the Commission is looking into, and how many of them were found to be fake. The Commission’s reply said it had received 2,560 cases of encounters, of which it granted compensation in 16 cases. But the NHRC did not give details of these 16 cases.
“It is sad that these institutions turned a deaf ear to the power of RTI,” Alam said.

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/batla-encounter-jamia-resident-draws-vague-replies-on-rti/382959/

गुरुवार, 6 नवंबर 2008

Batla House's encouter and RTI (Part-2nd.)





























AFROZ ALAM SAHIL






On 12th October 2005 we got the RTI. RTI is one of the most powerful acts bestowed upon the people of India by the government. It can be used to assert an individual’s democratic rights in knowing information about the government institutions’ workings and procedures. But even after three years of it’s implementation this Act has been avoided by the government institutions in giving out informations to the ordinary citizens in one way or the other. On 19th September this year, took place the Batla House encounter which sent shockwaves across the common people of India. Not only the Muslim community felt insecure, but a lot of questions were raised on the ethics of encounters in this country. In this connection we filed for an RTI regarding some information from various government institutions regarding this encounter. We sent separate petitions to AIIMS, NHRC, Delhi Police and the Supreme Court of India in this regard. AIIMS refused to give us information on account of sections 8(1)b and 8(1)h while the information we got from the NHRC is also not complete. Now after 40 days of filing the RTI petition, we finally got the reply from the Supreme Court and Delhi Police. We are happy that they have responded to our query. But the saddest part here is that even an institution like the Supreme Court has given us only incomplete information.
With respect to the Delhi Police, we had asked as to how many people were killed in the Batla House Encounter? We had also asked for details of the post mortem of the deceased in the encounter. Also we had asked if any FIR had been registered in this connection. And if yes then we had also asked for a photocopy of the same. Regarding the first query, the Delhi Police stated that 3 persons were killed (2 militants and 1 police officer). Regarding the second query, we were told that the case is still pending. We were further told that the disclosure of information may impede the process of investigation, hence no information /documents at this stage can be provided as the same is exempted under sections 8(1)h of RTI. And as regards to the last query, they said that an FIR was registered and it’s photocopy can be obtained as per the provisions of section 154 Cr. P. C. it is to be mentioned here that we had asked six questions in total to which the Delhi Police cared to give answers to only three.
With regard to the Supreme Court of India, we had asked as to how many cases had been filed against people or organizations in connection to terrorist activities from 28th January 1950 onwards. We had also asked for details regarding these cases. We also asked as to what punishments were given to the convicts in this connection. We had also asked if there had been any such case where the Police could not provide any concrete evidence against the accused. And we had also asked if there exists any provision under which the police or the government can be tried for wasting the Court’s valuable time in the absence of any concrete evidence. The reply which we got fell short of our expectations. Regarding the first query, the Supreme Court stated that cases against terrorists and extremists are not directly filed or instituted in the Supreme Court of India and only appeals against the decisions of the High Courts are instituted in this Hon’ble Court. Therefore the information relating thereto is not available. Regarding the second and third queries, the judgement/orders of the Supreme Court are reported in Law Journals and are also available on Supreme Court websites viz. http://www.supremecourtofindia.nic.in/ and can be downloaded therefrom. And regarding the fourth and fifth queries, they stated that it is beyond the jurisdiction and scope of the duties of the CPIO, Supreme Court of India under the Right to Information Act, 2005 to interpret the law, judgments of this Hon’ble Court or of any other Court, comment, opine or advise on matters.
It is really sad that such esteemed institutions of the nation give such a deaf ear to the power of the RTI. Then really one is forced to think on the authenticity of this Act. Even recently our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had talked so much about the judicious use of the RTI that we can only hope that someday our efforts will bear fruits.








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बुधवार, 5 नवंबर 2008

Batla House encounter: RTI petitioner denied information

Petitions filed under the RTI Act in connection with the October 19 encounter in Batla House have generated more controversy than information. Information in the matter was sought from the NHRC, AIIMS, Delhi Police and the Supreme Court by petitioner Afroz Alam Sahil.
Afroz Alam wanted information regarding postmortem reports and the doctors involved from AIIMS, and also a copy of the postmortem reports. In a reply, officials from the AIIMS Trauma Centre stated they could not pass on information related to medico legal records under sections 8(1)b and 8(1)h of the RTI. These sections are meant for information expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal, or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court. An irate Afroz Alam states in his blog, Soochna Express: “The denial of information by AIIMS is illogical. In this case, the court has not issued any orders regarding the Batla House case and we are not violating Section 8(1)b of the RTI. They said that information cannot be provided because it would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of the offenders. I want to state that information we sought is not related to any police investigation.”
The Delhi Police and Supreme Court have not replied to the petition till now. “If institutions like the Supreme Court do not take RTI seriously, then what is the use of having such an Act?” Alam asks. The information received from the NHRC states that 2,560 cases of police encounter/alleged fake encounters have come up and it has granted compensation in 16 such cases so far.
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/batla-house-encounter-rti-petitioner-denied-information/381640/

RTI query on Batla House encounter not replied....

By RINA,
New Delhi: Speaking on ‘RTI and Better Governance’ in third annual meeting of Central Information Commission, asked government officers to voluntarily furnish more and more information to the masses in order to decentralize power. However, Delhi police and officers in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) refused to divulge information on relevant facts of controversial Batla House encounter sought under Right to Information (RTI) Act.
On September 25, Afroz Alam Sahil had submitted an RTI application with Delhi police seeking information on post-mortem reports of persons killed during encounter, the First Information Report (FIR) and other details. He also submitted a similar application with the authorities at AIIMS, enquiring how many corpses were brought to the hospital after the encounter and when, how many corpses were examined post-mortem, at which level was it done and who was the doctor, were these corpses handed over to police or their family members?
RTI Act requires a reply within 30 days but neither Delhi police nor AIIMS authorities have furnished the information required in the query, even after a passage of 39 days. Whereas Delhi police are completely mum, the letter from AIIMS is rather stunning. Referring to article 8(1) and 8(1) H, they argued that said information cannot be given to the applicant. But when asked by BBC if said information can be withheld under said provisions, the senior pleader and a legal expert Vrinda Grovar said the argument of AIIMS administration is baseless. AIIMS is pioneering healthcare institution of the country.
Vrinda Grovar told that article 8(1) prohibits from furnishing information only when any court stops from doing so. Similarly, 8(1) H is binding for only that information on which investigations are on but post-mortem report does not affect any investigation in any way. She further said, “Refusal to furnish information creates the doubt that could have been done at behest of people in background.”
Sources believe that both prestigious establishments, Delhi police and AIIMS have acted against the law by flouting RTI Act. Two Muslim youths were killed in police encounter which people believe to be a fake encounter. All this requires more transparency on part of government officials. Obvious dilly-dalliance has prompted Mr. Afroz to say, “Delhi police and AIIMS want to escape from their responsibility which is unfortunate for both the law and the democracy.”

http://www.twocircles.net/2008nov04/rti_query_batla_house_encounter_not_replied.html

सोमवार, 3 नवंबर 2008

Batla House's encounter and RTI Act-2005....










AFROZ ALAM SAHIL




On 19th October took place the Batla House encounter which created ripples across the Muslim community throughout the length and breadth of the country. In response to this, protests and demonstrations have followed as a lot of doubts and questions have been raised on this incident. But as a media student and an RTI activist, I feel that only protests and demonstrations are not the only answers to such situations. There should also be a need to probe things analytically as the truth has to come out at last. In this context it should not be forgotten that the government has given us certain rights and privileges which we should use for our benefit. One such power given to us by the government is the Right To Information Act-2005 (RTI). Under this Act we put forth four petitions to four government departments seeking information on this issue. They were AIIMS, NHRC, Delhi Police Headquarters and the Supreme Court of India.
The information which we seeked from AIIMS were mainly of this nature that we wanted information on who had prepared the post-mortem report and who were the doctors who had conducted the post-mortem along with their designations. Also we had demanded a copy of the post-mortem.
The information which we wanted from NHRC were regarding the number of police encounters that have come up before the NHRC so far. And also how many such cases did the NHRC considered to be fake encounters. We had also asked for the details of the fake encounters to be provided.
From Delhi Police we had wanted the post-mortem report, the copy of the FIR and also the details regarding how many people have been arrested or detained after the serial blasts of 13th September. And also we had wanted to know what proof the police have against the people who are still detained.
From the Supreme Court we wanted details regarding as to how many people or organizations have been booked so far under the laws from 28th January 1950 onwards. Also we wanted details if there had been such a case where the police could not provide sufficient proof against the accused. Along with it we had also wanted to know if the Supreme Court could order proceedings against the police or the government for wasting the court’s time in absence of any concrete proof along with the details of the procedures if any rule exists.
The reply that we got from the Jaiprakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre of AIIMS was that this information was related to Medico Legal Records. And they refused to give us information under the Sections 8(1)b and 8(1)h of the RTI. It is to be mentioned that Section 8(1)b states that information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court cannot be provided to the RTI petitioner. But here since the Court has not issued any orders regarding the Batla House case we are not violating the Section8(1)b of the RTI. Now Section 8(1)h states that information cannot be provided about the information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of the offenders. Now I want to state that the information we seek is not related to any Intelligence Agency nor is it related to any police investigation. Here I want to state that I accept that the role of AIIMS is over with the post-mortem procedure of the case and that they are not related with any further investigation of the police. So the denial of information by AIIMS is illogical in this context. Plus, I want to mention here that RTI states that any information which comes under the Section 8(1) but involves a huge public domain, then that information has also to be provided to the petitioner.
From the NHRC, we have got the information that so far, 2560 cases of police encounter/alleged fake encounter have come up before the Commission. The Commission has so far granted compensation in sixteen such cases. But here also we have not been provided the complete information as we had asked for details of the fake encounters too.
But here again the Delhi Police and the Supreme Court of India have not provided any reply to our RTI petition till now. This is really sad as these institutions are literally making fun of the RTI Act by ignoring our petition. Here a big question mark has been raised on the RTI Act because what good is this Act going to do to us if institutions like the Supreme Court of India do not take our petition seriously. But here again we will not be disappointed as we believe that the exercising of our rights will finally bear us fruit and we shall obtain the truth no matter how much oppositions we face. It is with this aim that I have made the first appeal under this act. And I hope that I will get the required information in this case to bring out the truth.

जामिया मामले में जानकारी से इनकार .....

पाणिनी आनंद

जामिया नगर मुठभेड़ मामले में जहां दिल्ली पुलिस सूचना क़ानून के तहत जानकारी देने से बच रही है वहीं भारत के प्रतिष्ठित एम्स अस्पताल ने इस मामले से जुड़ी जानकारी देने से इनकार कर दिया है.
मांगी गई जानकारी में एफ़आईआर और पोस्टमार्टम की रिपोर्टें शामिल हैं. जानकार मानते हैं कि दोनों ही संस्थाओं ने इस तरह सूचना का अधिकार क़ानून की अवहेलना की है.
ग़ौरतलब है कि 19 सितंबर, 2008 को दिल्ली के जामिया नगर इलाके में पुलिस मुठभेड़ हुई थी जिसमें दिल्ली पुलिस के एक इंस्पेक्टर और दो संदिग्ध व्यक्तियों की मौत हो गई थी.
पुलिस का कहना है कि ये दोनों लोग चरमपंथी थे और इनका ताल्लुक दिल्ली और अन्य जगहों पर पिछले कुछ सप्ताहों के दौरान हुए बम विस्फोटों से था.
पुलिस ने एक संदिग्ध व्यक्ति को हिरासत में भी लिया था. बाद में मौके से भागने में सफल रहे दो अन्य संदिग्ध लोगों को भी पुलिस ने गिरफ़्तार कर लिया था. पर इस मुठभेड़ में दिल्ली पुलिस की भूमिका को लेकर कई संदेह और सवाल भी उठते रहे.
ताकि पर्दा उठे
इन्हीं संदेहों को ख़त्म करने के मकसद से पिछले महीने सूचना का अधिकार क़ानून के तहत दिल्ली पुलिस से मारे गए लोगों के पोस्टमार्टम की रिपोर्ट और एफ़आईआर की कॉपी सहित कुछ और जानकारी भी मांगी गई थी.
ऐसी ही एक अर्जी़ अखिल भारतीय आयुर्विज्ञान संस्थान यानी एम्स में भी डाली गई थी जिसमें पूछा गया था कि मुठभेड़ के बाद कितने शव और किस वक्त अस्पताल लाए गए. कितने शवों का पोस्टमार्टम हुआ. यह काम किस स्तर के और किन डॉक्टरों ने किया.
आवेदन में यह भी कहा गया कि पोस्टमार्टम की रिपोर्ट की प्रतियां दी जाएं और बताया जाए कि क्या सभी शव पुलिस को दिए गए या परिजनों को.
क़ानून के मुताबिक दोनों ही महकमों को यह जानकारी आवेदन की 30 दिनों की समयावधि के भीतर ही आवेदक को दे देनी चाहिए थी.
पर ऐसा नहीं हुआ. आवेदक अफ़रोज़ आलम बताते हैं कि दिल्ली पुलिस की ओर से जानकारी तो दूर, अभी तक कोई पत्र या संपर्क तक स्थापित नहीं किया गया है जबकि आवेदन 25 सितंबर को ही कर दिया गया था और अबतक 39 दिन बीत चुके हैं.
क़ानून की अवहेलना..?
वहीं समयावधि पूरी होने से ठीक पहले एम्स प्रशासन की ओर से जो जवाब दिया गया है वो चौंकानेवाला है.
एम्स प्रशासन ने अपने जवाब में कहा है कि इसी क़ानून की उपधारा 8(1) बी और उपधारा 8(1) एच के तहत यह जानकारी आवेदक को नहीं दी जा सकती है.
इस बारे में जब वरिष्ठ अधिवक्ता और इस क़ानून की जानकार वृंदा ग्रोवर से बीबीसी ने पूछा कि क्या इन उपधाराओं के तहत यह जानकारी देने से मना किया जा सकता है तो उन्होंने एम्स प्रशासन के इस तर्क को बेबुनियाद बताते हुए कहा कि इस तरह देश की एक प्रतिष्ठित संस्था ने क़ानून की अवहेलना ही की है.
वो बताती हैं, “उपधारा 8(1)बी कहती है कि वो जानकारी नहीं देनी है जिसे देने पर अदालत ने रोक लगाई हो. पर इस मामले में क़ानूनी तौर पर या अदालत की ओर से ऐसी कोई भी रोक नहीं लगाई गई है.”
वो आगे बताती हैं, “दूसरी दलील उपधारा 8(1)एच को आधार बनाकर दी गई है. यह उपधारा कहती है कि वो जानकारी नहीं देनी है जो जाँच के दायरे में हो और उससे जाँच प्रभावित होती हो पर पोस्टमार्टम की रिपोर्ट देने से चल रही जाँच न तो प्रभावित होती है और जाँच दिल्ली पुलिस के अधीन है, न कि एम्स जाँच कर रहा है. ऐसे में उनका यह तर्क भी बेबुनियाद है.”
वृंदा बताती हैं कि कुछ ही दिनों में चार्जशीट के साथ पोस्टमार्टम की रिपोर्ट और एफ़आईआर की प्रतियां दोनों पक्षों को मिल ही जाएंगी. ऐसे में एम्स प्रशासन का जानकारी देने से इनकार करना यह संदेह पैदा करता है कि कहीं ऐसा किसी इशारे पर तो नहीं हो रहा है.
कब देंगे जानकारी..?
इस बारे में एम्स प्रशासन का जवाब जहाँ टालमटोल वाला बताया जा रहा है वहीं दिल्ली पुलिस की ओर से अबतक आवेदक को कुछ नहीं बताया गया है.
जब बीबीसी ने दिल्ली पुलिस की ओर से जानकारी न दिए जाने का मुद्दा महकमे के प्रवक्ता राजन भगत के सामने रखा तो उन्होंने कहा कि दिल्ली पुलिस क़ानून की अवहेलना नहीं कर रही है. जानकारी दे दी जाएगी.
पर समयावधि बीतने से क्या क़ानून की अवहेलना नहीं हुई, यह पूछने पर वो कहते हैं, “हमें जब आवेदन मिला होगा उसके बाद 30 दिन के अंदर हम जानकारी भेज देंगे. जानकारी या तो भेजी जा चुकी है या भेजी जा रही होगी. इस बारे में मैं कोई टिप्पणी नहीं करना चाहता कि दिल्ली पुलिस क्या जानकारी देगी. यह जानकारी मिलने पर ख़ुद पता चल जाएगा.”
आवेदन अफ़रोज़ कहते हैं कि रजिस्टर्ड डाक द्वारा भेजा गया आवेदन अगर अधिकतम समयावधि यानी तीन दिन बाद भी पुलिस को मिला तो भी आकलन के मुताबिक 37 दिन हो चुके हैं और दिल्ली पुलिस समयसीमा लांघ चुकी है.
वो कहते हैं, “इससे साफ़ होता है कि दिल्ली पुलिस और एम्स पारदर्शिता और जवाबदेही तय होने से बचना चाहते हैं जो कि क़ानून और लोकतंत्र, दोनों के लिए दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण है. मैंने दोनों विभागों के इस रवैये को देखते हुए पहली अपील दायर कर दी है.”
जानकार मानते हैं कि जिस तरह से दिल्ली पुलिस की भूमिका को लेकर इस मुठभेड़ मामले में सवाल उठाए जाते रहे हैं उसके बाद पुलिस महकमे और एम्स प्रशासन को पारदर्शिता तय करने के लिए ख़ुद आगे आना चाहिए था ताकि सवालों का जवाब मिले और उनकी भूमिका स्पष्ट हो.
पर विश्लेषकों और इस मामले पर नज़र रख रहे लोगों की ओर से अब महकमे पर यह भी आरोप लगाए जा रहे हैं कि वे जानकारी छिपा रहे हैं जिससे उनकी भूमिका पर संदेह और गहराएगा.

मंगलवार, 14 अक्तूबर 2008

'...खाने के और, दिखाने के और'

पाणिनी आनंद
'अगर आपसे कहा जाए कि सूचना का अधिकार क़ानून लागू किए जाने के तीन बरस बीत जाने तक सरकार ने इस क़ानून के प्रचार पर जितना खर्च किया, वो शायद एक नेता या नौकरशाह के कुछ महीनों के चाय-पानी के खर्च से भी कम है तो आपको अटपटा लगेगा.
पर सूचना का अधिकार क़ानून के प्रचार-प्रसार के लिए केंद्र सरकार की ओर से किए गए खर्च की यही सच्चाई है.
सूचना का अधिकार क़ानून के ज़रिए मिली जानकारी के मुताबिक केंद्र सरकार के सेवीवर्गीय एवं प्रशिक्षण विभाग (डिपार्टमेंट ऑफ़ पर्सोनल एंड ट्रेनिंग- डीओपीटी) ने अभी तक इस क़ानून के प्रचार-प्रसार पर तीन बरसों में कुल दो लाख रूपए खर्च किए हैं.
केंद्र में सत्तारूढ़ यूपीए सरकार सूचना का अधिकार क़ानून को अपनी ऐतिहासिक उपलब्धियों में शामिल बताती है. यूपीए के कार्यकाल में ही 12 अक्तूबर 2005 को यह क़ानून देशभर में लागू किया गया.
उस वक्त सरकार ने इस क़ानून के ज़रिए सरकारी कामकाज में पारदर्शिता और जवाबदेही सुनिश्चित कराने की दिशा में लोगों के हाथ में एक मज़बूत अधिकार दिए जाने की बात कही थी.
पर्यवेक्षकों का कहना है कि जहाँ एक-एक योजना के प्रचार पर सरकार करोड़ों रुपए खर्च कर देती है, सूचना का अधिकार क़ानून के मामले में शायद सरकार की ऐसी कोई इच्छाशक्ति नहीं दिखाई दी.
कितना किया ख़र्च..?
पिछले दिनों प्रधानमंत्री कार्यालय में इसी क़ानून के तहत आवेदन करके दिल्ली के एक युवा कार्यकर्ता अफ़रोज़ आलम साहिल ने यह जानकारी मांगी कि सरकार ने अभी तक इस क़ानून के प्रचार-प्रसार पर कितना पैसा खर्च किया.
इसके जवाब में प्रधानमंत्री कार्यालय ने इस आवेदन को डीओपीटी को बढ़ा दिया. विभाग की ओर से इस बारे में दिया गया जवाब चौंकानेवाला है.
विभाग के मुताबिक पिछले तीन बरसों में इस क़ानून के प्रचार के लिए कुल दो लाख रूपए खर्च किए गए हैं. यह पैसा डीएवीपी और प्रसार भारती के ज़रिए खर्च किया गया है.
यानी इस आंकड़े के मुताबिक वर्ष में लगभग 66 हज़ार रूपए या यूँ कहें कि सरकार इस क़ानून के प्रचार पर औसत तौर पर हर महीने महज़ साढ़े पाँच हज़ार रुपए ख़र्च कर रही है.
विभाग ने यह भी बताया है कि इस रक़म के अलावा क़रीब दो लाख, 80 हज़ार रुपए सरकारी विभागों, सूचना मांगनेवालों, अपील अधिकारियों, जन अधिकारियों और केंद्रीय जन सूचना अधिकारियों को निर्देश आदि जारी करने पर खर्च कर दिया गया.
यानी विभाग की ओर से सरकारी महकमे में जानकारी देने के लिए किया गया खर्च भी 100 करोड़ से ज़्यादा बड़ी आबादी के देश को सूचना का अधिकार क़ानून के बारे में बताने के लिए किए गए खर्च से ज़्यादा है.
क़ानून की उपेक्षा..?
सूचना का अधिकार अभियान से जुड़ी जानी-मानी समाजसेवी अरुणा रॉय कहती हैं, "इससे साफ़ है कि सरकार सूचना का अधिकार क़ानून को लोगों तक पहुँचाने के प्रति कितनी गंभीर है. इससे नौकरशाही का और सत्ता का इस क़ानून के प्रति रवैया उजागर होता है."
सूचना का अधिकार अभियान के एक अन्य मैग्सेसे पुरस्कार प्राप्त समाजसेवी अरविंद केजरीवाल भी सरकार की मंशा और नौकरशाही के रवैये पर ऐसे ही पटाक्षेप करते हैं.
सूचना का अधिकार क़ानून का सेक्शन-चार कहता है कि विभागों को कामकाज से संबंधी सूचना तत्काल जारी करनी और सार्वजनिक करनी चाहिए. यही सेक्शन यह भी कहता है कि विभागों को इस क़ानून के बारे में लोगों के बीच सभी संभव संचार-प्रचार माध्यमों का इस्तेमाल करके लोगों को इससे अवगत कराना चाहिए.
पर सरकार की ओर से इतने छोटे बजट का खर्च इस क़ानून की अवहेलना की कलई भी खोलता है.
'नौकरशाही पर निर्भर न रहें'
भारत सरकार के मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त वजाहत हबीबुल्लाह भी यह स्वीकार करते हैं कि इस क़ानून के प्रचार के लिए जितना पैसा खर्च किया गया है वो काफी कम है.
पर वो इसके लिए अलग रास्ता सुझाते हैं. बीबीसी से बातचीत में उन्होंने कहा कि सरकार या विभागों का मुंह देखने के बजाय इस बात पर ध्यान दिया जाना चाहिए कि किस तरह से इस क़ानून को लेकर लोगों के बीच काम कर रहे संगठनों की मदद की जाए.
उन्होंने कहा, "अगर विभागों पर ही इस क़ानून के प्रचार के लिए निर्भरता रहेगी तो नौकरशाही का कामकाज का तरीका इसे लेकर गंभीर नहीं होगा और अधिक पैसा देने पर भी उसका सही इस्तेमाल नहीं हो सकेगा. ऐसे में सरकार को उन संगठनों को पैसा देना चाहिए जो इसके प्रचार को लेकर गंभीर हैं और इस मुद्दे पर काम कर रहे हैं."
पर क्या मुट्ठी भर संगठनों और संसाधनों का अभाव इस विचार को बौना साबित नहीं कर देता, इस पर वो कहते हैं कि इसके लिए बड़े दानदाताओं की ओर देखना चाहिए. विश्व बैंक जैसी संस्थाएं हज़ारों करोड़ रूपए का बजट ऐसे काम के लिए देने को तैयार हैं. इसके इस्तेमाल की दिशा तय करने की ज़रूरत है.
केंद्रीय सूचना आयुक्त के तर्क और सूचना का अधिकार अभियान से जुड़े लोगों की चिंता कई संकेत देती हैं.
राजनीतिक और नौकरशाही के हलकों में ये बात आम है कि सूचनाओं के सार्वजनिक होने से नेताओं और नौकरशाहों में चिंता है और हड़कंप है.
विश्लेषक मानते हैं कि दुनियाभर में जो इतिहास भारत सरकार ने इस क़ानून को लागू करके रचा था, उसे इसके प्रचार-प्रसार के प्रति इस रवैये को देखकर ठेस पहुँची है.
सवाल भी उठ रहे हैं कि प्रधानमंत्रियों के जन्मदिन और पुण्यतिथियों पर लाखों के विज्ञापन छपवा देने वाली सरकारें, अपनी उपलब्धियों पर मुस्कराती हुई तस्वीर छपवाने वाले मंत्रियों का आम आदमी को सूचना प्रदान करने वाले इस क़ानून के प्रति क्या रवैया है.

रविवार, 28 सितंबर 2008

Police Theories Encountered

SHOBHITA NAITHANI,

IT'S 11 AT night on September 22. Sombre activity is in progress at the Nizamuddin burial ground, but a stunned, occasionally resentful uncertainty pervades the air. A group of some 150 armed policemen stand round, keeping grim watch over a gathering of over 250 people. Some of those attending the funeral are irate. They are questioning the veracity of the rationale that brings them to the burial of Atif, alias Bashir, and Mohammed Sajid, blamed for the September 13 New Delhi blasts and shot dead three days earlier in a police encounter in New Delhi's Jamia Nagar. Now the two are being buried in the presence of the Shahi Imam of the Delhi Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, local politicians and numerous Muslims visiting the city to mark Ramzan. Speaking at the funeral, Bukhari reiterated what many civil society organisations have been saying since September 19, the day of the encounter: "The police cannot label anyone a terrorist. It's for the courts to decide whether a person is guilty."

There are two versions of the events of that day. Badr Taslim, 48, a long-time resident of L-17, Batla House, the building adjacent to the one where the 'terrorists were holed up', first heard the sounds of gunfire at about 11am and after that a scream. Soon, armed men rushed to the spot and told him to get inside his house. Taslim ran to the flat opposite his and saw two men coming down from the fourth floor of L-18, supporting Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma by his arms. Sharma would die later that night of wounds sustained during the operation. But Taslim is unsure how serious Sharma's injuries were. "A small stain of blood was visible under his right arm," he says. "There was no wound in the front of his body. There was no blood on the staircase either."
Some residents recall the sequence. Several gunshots, the police said 30, audible till about 11:40am. Then, the silence. Finally, the bodies of two 'terrorists' — 23-year-old Atif and 17-yearold Sajid — carted away. Taslim didn't see the police arresting Saif, who is suspected to have planted the Regal Cinema bomb that was defused. Masih Alam, a lawyer who lives in the flat opposite L-18, agrees with Taslim's version.
In the police story, Atif was the Indian Mujahideen mastermind who designed and coordinated the five blasts that went off in three crowded New Delhi shopping centres. Sajid was supposedly Atif's close aide. The police claim the Special Cell team had received information that two of those suspected in the blasts were at Jamia Nagar. At about 10:30am, a subinspector posing as a Vodafone salesman knocked on the door of the fourth-floor flat in L-18 Batla House. The residents of the house said they didn't want the Vodafone offer. As was arranged, the sub-inspector sent a signal to Sharma by giving him a missed call. Minutes after getting the cue, Sharma was up the stairs with six other officers. As he entered the flat, men rushed out of another room and opened fire at him. Sharma fell to the ground, and the bullet aimed at him hit a constable. The shootout continued. Sharma was pulled out and taken to the Holy Family Hospital, closeby. The police later said Sharma was bleeding heavily. By then, the police had taken over the area and cordoned it. Later, the police claimed that the shootout had accounted for three terrorists: two dead, one arrested. The police said two others escaped. An AK-47 assault rifle along with two .30 pistols and a computer were recovered from the alleged hideout, a seizure the police would have to prove once the trial starts.

Over the weekend, the police claimed that two more terrorists were on the run along with the two from Batla House. So, that made it four on the run. The police claimed that an additional four — Zeeshan, Zia-ur-Rehman, Saquib Nissar and Mohammad Shakeel — were arrested by September 21. Zeeshan was the first of these four to be arrested on September 19. But before that, Zeeshan had appeared on a news channel, after he saw his name flash on television as a suspect. On television, Zeeshan said he wasn't involved. Hours later, the police picked him up and claimed he had confessed.


IN THE aftermath, the loopholes in the police theory are becoming evident. Why weren't the policemen in bulletproof jackets? Eyewitness Taslim wonders how the two terrorists who managed to escape got away, considering that L-18 not only has just one entrance and exit, but also has a gap between its terrace and the roof of the next house. "The only option was to jump. Had they done so, they would have died," Taslim says. The alleged terrorists had also applied for tenant verification on August 21, with their personal details, including permanent addresses, driving license details, and the address of their previous residence. "Why would those involved in the Ahmedabad blasts in July and those preparing to bomb Delhi in September give their verification to the police?" asks Asif Mohammad, a former councillor of the area.
Civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who is leading an independent fact-finding mission into the incident, feels that the police did not set out for Batla House thinking they were after terrorists. They would have planned the operation better, Bhushan said. And therefore, he says, the police story describing the dead men's role in the blasts is false. "This is clear from several facts. Their tenant verification is authentic. Zeeshan was taking an MBA exam. Atif is a registered Jamia Millia Islamia student. All these point to the fact that there is something amiss in the police theory," says Bhushan.

But the big question is: How did Sharma die? Bhushan says there are three possibilities: those inside the house were armed and fired at Sharma, or he fell victim to a form of 'friendly fire', having been accidentally shot by a police gun. The last and most sinister, utterly cynical possibility is that he was shot by his colleagues, perhaps a bitter fallout of his chequered career.
'cracking' of the terror module, a section of the media and civil rights activists like Shabnam Hashmi, John Dayal and Yogendra Yadav doubt the police theory. For now, there is a demand for a fair, impartial and independent probe into the puzzling incident.

Has A Cover-Up Begun?

AIIMS doctors say crucial evidence may have been lost during Inspector MC Sharma's operation HIS COLLEAGUES call him the bravest. But his death during the Jamia Nagar encounter has raised uncomfortable questions. In a startling disclosure, a senior doctor who conducted the postmortem on Inspector MC Sharma at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences spoke to TEHELKA of the damage to his vital organs. "It was difficult to establish the entry and exit points of the bullet because conclusive evidence had been wiped out by the interventions of the doctors at Holy Family [where Sharma was rushed to]."Once considered the right-hand man of late ACP Rajbir Singh, another encounter specialist, Sharma was instrumental in the killing of 35 alleged terrorists and the arrest of 80 supposed others. It is believed that Sharma also killed 120 gangsters in a career just short of two decades. A close Special Cell colleague said there was a time when Sharma and Singh were measured on the same notoriety scale. "But post-2003, once the two encounter specialists fell out, Sharma sorted his ways." Jamia Nagar residents want to know how a veteran officer could make the mistake of not wearing a bulletproof vest to an encounter site. Senior officers have varying answers. "He probably wanted to garner all the credit," said one, who requested anonymity. According to another, "He was under tremendous pressure as his son was suffering from dengue." Least satisfactory was the response from Deputy Com missioner of Police (Special Cell) Alok Kumar, who said, "He must have wanted to maintain secrecy in a cramped area like Batla House." Why then could he not have worn the vest under his shirt?

(Rohini Mohan contributed to this story)
WRITER'S E-MAIL

shobhita@tehelka.com

शनिवार, 27 सितंबर 2008

Students of Jamia take RTI route to dig facts on encounter

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan times

The students of Jamia Milia Islamia are now taking the Right to Information (RTI) route to lay bare the facts about the encounter that took place in Batla House last Friday.
One of the students of Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC), Jamia, has filed four individual RTI applications in various institutions to get a clear picture of the blast and the encounter.
“People have been agitating and expressing their views in violent ways. But I think we have a tool in our hand that was made to create transparency and that’s why I have filed four RTI applications to get actual facts about the incident rather than listening to various versions being given by the police and the government,” said Afroz Alam Sahil, a resident of Batla House.
He is a student of MA Mass Communication, Jamia.
Sahil, a 20-year-old has filed four RTI’s in the Supreme Court, National Human Resource Commission (NHRC), Delhi Police and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
“I have been speaking to a lot of students and the residents regarding the incident. While many of them want to get a clear picture of the encounter but they are scared to the extent that they are shying away from even filing RTI applications lest they might be harmed in some way or the other,” added Sahil who is a native of Bihar.
Sahil has been motivating other students from Jamia also, to use the RTI to get their questions answered.
“I have organised a meeting tomorrow to discuss the issue regarding filing other RTI applications by students as well as residents. There are many unanswered questions about the incident in the residents mind and if we fail to get our queries answered then we will also get to know how efficient is the RTI,” added Sahil.

फर्जी मुठभेड़ ............?

देश की कानून व्यवस्था को बनाये रखने में पुलिस की एक अहम भूमिका होती है। बल्कि इन्हे देश व देश में रह रहे इन्सानों की रक्षा हेतु नियुक्त किया जाता है। लेकिन यह जब रक्षक ही भक्षक बन जाये तो आप क्या करेंगे?

यह सच है कि आज आम जनता आतंकवाद से तंग आ चुकी है बल्कि वह यह भी मानने लगी है कि आतंकवाद को जल्द से जल्द जड. से खत्म कर देनी चाहिए। उन सब को मार गिराना चाहिए जो सैकड़ों हजारों बेकसूरों की जान लेने में नहीं हिचकिचाते। बशर्ते वह वाकई आतंकवादियों हो और उनके आतंकवादी होने का पूरा सबूत भी हो।

पुलिस जिसे अपने कार्य के लिए अत्यंत दयानतदार व इमानदार माना जाता है लेकिन आज कानून व्यवस्था को कायम रखने वाली इस पुलिस के किरदार पर कई सवाल उठ खड़े हुए हैं। इसमें अनेकों विकृतियाँ आ गई हैं। पहले इसका राजनीतिकरण हुआ और अब इसका अपराधीकरण हो रहा है। कानून व्यवस्था को अपने हाथ में लेना और अपने मुताबिक चलाना हमारे देश की पुलिस के लिए कोई नई बात नहीं है, जिस पर आश्चर्य किया जाये। लग-भग हर दिन, हर समय देश के किसी न किसी कोने में पुलिस द्वारा कानून को हाथ में लेने के मामले सामने आते रहते हैं। शातिर बदमाशों तथा आतंकवादियों के साथ पुलिस की मुठभेड़ आम बात है, पर इनमें कितनी जायज और कितनी फर्जी होती है, इसका पता नहीं चल पाता। न जाने अब तक कितने हीं मासूम लोगों को फर्जी मुठभेड़ में मार डाला गया होगा।

श्रीनगर के दैनिक समाचार पत्र कश्मीर टाईम्स के दिल्ली ब्यूरो प्रमुख "इफ्तिखार गिलानी"ने सिहरा देने वाली आपबीती "जेलं में कटे वो दिन" लिखकर देश की पुलिस की हक़ीकत सामने ला चुके हैं। 1968-75 में आई।ए।एस. रह चुकी मैगसेसे अवार्ड से सम्मानित "अरुणा रोय" ने भी अपनी पुस्तक "जीने और जानने का अधिकार" में पुलिस की हक़ीकत को ब्यान कर दिया है। उन्होंने लिखा है, कि "एक नक्सलवादी या आतंकवादी, पुलिस के साथ एक मुठभेड़ में मारा गया" जब हम अखबारों में ऐसे समाचार पढ़ते हैं तो हमें क्या महसूस होता है? बहुत कम ऐसे लोग हैं जो ऐसे समाचार सच मान लेते हैं। ज्यादातर लोग जानते हैं कि "मुठभेड़" का मतलब है "हत्या"

बहरहाल ,पुलिस का यही "मुठभेड़ " एक बार फिर चर्चा में है। हर रोज विभत्स ब्यौरे सामने आने के साथ ही फर्जी मुठभेड़ का मामला राष्ट्रीय विवाद का रूप लेता जा रहा है, जिसके कारण पुलिस का कुरूप चेहरा उजागड़ हुआ है। विभिन्न राजनैतिक पार्टियों के राजनेता भी इस मुद्दे पर अपनी राजनीतिक रोटियां सेकने में पिछे नहीं है। वैसे भी दिल्ली में भी फर्जी मुठभेड़ के मामले आते रहे हैं चाहे वो अंसल प्लाजा का मुठभेड़ हो, कनाट प्लेस या फिर २००२ में ओखला में हुई मुठभेड़ हो। पंजाब, जम्मू व कश्मीर में तो यह घटना लगभग हर दिन होते रहते हैं। गुजरात में सोहराबुद्दीन शैख़ व तुलसी राम प्रजापति के मामले को भी अभी ज्यादा दिन नही हुए हैं। इससे पूर्व भी अहमदाबाद के राजनीतिक संरक्षण प्राप्त और बाद में राजनीतिज्ञों के लिए "बेकाम के" हो चुके अब्दुल लतिफ को फर्जी मुठभेड़ में मार दिया गया था। अहमदाबाद में हीं समीर खान , मुम्बई के उपनगरीय इलाका मुमरा की १९ वर्षीय मुम्बई कॉलेज की छात्रा इशमत जहाँ का फर्जी मुठभेड़ को भी बहुत ज़्यादा दिन नही गुज़रे हैं। अर्थात देश के हर राज्य में इस तरह की कारनामें गठित होती रहती है। वास्वतव में देखा जाये तो फर्जी मुठभेड़ों की संस्कृति, कानून के शासन की पराजय है।


अगर फर्जी मुठभेड़ों के इतिहास की बात करें तो इसका इतिहास काफी पुराना है। लेकिन मुठभेड़ के बहाने अपराधियों को खत्म करने का चलन 1968 में आन्ध्र प्रदेश और पश्चिम बंगाल से शुरू हुआ। आतंकवादियों, माओवादियों, नक्सलवादी के मार गिराने के नाम पर फर्जी मुठभेड़ों का सिलसिला अब भी जारी है।


फर्जी मुठभेड़ क्यों होते है? आखिर पुलिस क्यों इसका सहारा लेती है? ऐसी कौन सी बाध्यता है, जो इनको फर्जी मुठभेड़ के लिए प्रेरित करता है? क्या फर्जी मुठभेड़ का जिम्मेदार सिर्फ पुलिस है, या इनके साथ कोई और भी है?

वास्तव में, पुलिस जब अभियुक्त को कानूनी कार्रवाई के तहत दोषी सिद्ध करने में नाकाम साबित होती है तो इन विकल्पों को चुनती हैं। पुरस्कार की चाहत, नाम व शोहरत भी यह कार्य करने पर मज़बूर करता है। बल्कि सच्चाई यह है कि बड़े कुख्यात अपराधियों को भी इसमें दखल होता है। कभी-कभी कारपोरेट जगत भी पूरी तरह हावी रहती है। कोई व्यक्ति यदि परेशान कर रहा हो तो पहले उसकी सुपारी अपराधियों को दी जाती थी, अब यह काम पुलिस वाले फर्जी मुठभेड़ के माध्यम से अंजाम देने लगे हैं।


पुलिस का यह कुरूप चेहरा सिर्फ भारत में ही नहीं बल्कि भारत के बाहर भी कई देशों में फर्जी मुठभेड़ होती है। मानवाधिकार की सर्वाधिक वकालत करने वाला देश अमेरिका भी इस मामले में पिछे नहीं है, अक्सर पद, पहुंच तथा व्यक्तिगत महत्वकांक्षा हेतु पुलिस आधिकारी ऐसे कारनामों को अन्जाम देते रहते हैं।

कहीं न कहीं इन मुठभेड़ों के पिछे राजनैतिक उददेश्य भी छिपे होते हैं। 2002 में फर्जी मुठभेड़ के मुददे को "देश प्रेम " बनाम "देश द्रोह " की कार्रवाई करार दिए जाने के पिछे एक बड़ा कारण गुजरात चुनाव था, जिसका फायदा नरेन्द्र मोदी ने हासिल किया और अब भी स्थिति कुछ वैसी ही है, क्यूंकि कुछ ही महीनो लोकसभा व विधानसभा के चुनाव होने वाले हैं। दिल्ली में शुरू हुआ यह "खेल" देश को किस दिशा में ले जायेगी, यह आने वाला समय ही बतायेगा।तबतक आप मुशीरुल हसन के बयान पर राजनैतिक उठापटक का "खेल" देखते रहीये।


अफरोज आलम 'साहिल'

Some Questions about the Counter-Terror Operation at Jamia Nagar, New Delhi

A team comprising activists, academicians and journalists visited the site of the police operation against alleged terrorists staying in an apartment in Jamia Nagar in the afternoon of 20.09.2008 (Saturday). Two alleged terrorists Atif and Sajid, along with Mohan Chand Sharma, an inspector of the Delhi Police's Special Cell died in the operation while a third alleged terrorist was arrested.

On the basis of our interactions with the local residents, eye witnesses and the reports which have appeared in the media, we would like to pose the following questions:

1) It has been widely reported that in early August this year Atif, who is described by the Delhi Police as the mastermind behind the recent terrorist bombings in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi, underwent a police verification exercise along with his four roommates in order to rent the apartment they were staying in Jamia Nagar. All the five youth living in the apartment submitted to the Delhi police their personal details, including permanent address, driving license details, address of the house they previously stayed in, all of which were found to be accurate. Though the police is now denying the veracity of the verification form, Mr. Rehman, the caretaker of the flat, has vouched, on camera, that he accompanied Atif to the Police Station for the verification.

Is it conceivable that the alleged kingpin behind the terrorist Indian Mujahideen outfit would have wanted to undergo a police verification- for whatever purpose- just a week after the Ahmedabad blasts and a month before the bombings in Delhi?

2) The four-storeyed house L-18 in Jamia Nagar, where the alleged terrorists were staying, has only one access point, through the stair case, which is covered by an iron grill. It is impossible to leave the house except from the staircase. By all reports, the staircase was taken over by the Special Cell and/ or other agencies during the counter-terror operation. The house, indeed the entire block, was cordoned off at the time of the operation. How then was it then possible, as claimed by the police, for two alleged terrorists to escape the premises during the police operation?

3) The media has quoted 'police sources' as having informed them that the Special Cell was fully aware about the presence of dreaded terrorists, involved in the bombings in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi, staying in the apartment that was raided.

Why was the late Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, a veteran of dozens of encounter operations, the only officer in the operation not wearing a bullet proof vest? Was this due to over-confidence or is there something else to his mysterious death during the operation? Will the forensic report of the bullets that killed Inspector Sharma be made public?

4) There are reports that towards the end of the counter-terror operation, some policemen climbed on the roof of L-18 and fired several rounds in the air. Other policemen were seen breaking windows and even throwing flower pots to the ground from flats adjacent or opposite to L-18. Why was the police firing in the air and why did it indulge in destruction of property around L-18 after the encounter?

5) The police officials claim that an AK-47 and pistols were recovered from L-18. What was the weapon that killed Inspector Sharma? Was the AK-47 used at all and by whom? Going by some reports that have appeared (see 'Times of India', 20.09.08), the AK-47s have been used by the police only. Is it not strange that alleged terrorists did not use a more deadly and sophisticated weapon like the AK-47, which they purportedly possessed, preferring to use pistols?

We feel that there are far too many loose ends in the current story of the police encounter at L-18 in Jamia Nagar. We demand that a fair, impartial and independent probe into the incident be initiated at the earliest to answer the above questions as also any other ones that arise from the contradictions of the case.

Signed/- Shabnam Hashmi (Anhad), Satya Sivaraman (Independent Journalist), Manisha Sethi (Forum for Democratic Initiatives) , Tanweer Fazal (Forum for Democratic Initiatives) , Arshad Alam (Jamia Millia Islamia), Neshat Quaiser (Jamia Millia Islamia), Pallavi Deka (General Secretary, JNU Students' Union)

Fact Finding into Jamia Nagar encounter killing .....

Date of first visit to Jamia Nagar area by team 21 September 2008
1. The police sitting outside L-18 say that on the day of the incident 6 companies of police were here. Each company has 72 men.

2. Our observation- Nobody could have escaped from the building – the police in the first statements after the encounter otherwise said (as reported in electronic media) that 2 persons escaped during the encounter. The building has only one entrance and exit and there is a gap between the terrace of this building and next. It appears that this story of there being 5 men/boys is based on interrogation of Saif who was the youth who was arrested while Atiq and Sajid were killed during the encounter.

3. Zeeshan who also shared the flat/room had left at 8 am as he had a test(entrance test of some kind. Headlines Today reported him gone to IIPM for taking some reexaminations there, a Channel apparently has also run a clip of administratives of IIPM attesting to the fact!(More DETAILS?) was arrested later in the night of 19 Sep. According to Ameeque (cousin of Atiq and independent doc. film maker who has worked extensively for Doordarshan and editor of paper Samyik Varta), Zeeshan was wondering what he could do when he heard about the encounter after he got out of his examination and called some people about advice. Some told him to run away- but he didn't want to as he had not done anything wrong. He got the phone no. of the TV Channel 'Headlines Today' and went to their office to give his statement. This was partially aired. As he was coming out of the TV channel's office he was arrested by the police. He too is being called a terrorist.

4. Account of Badr TasleemMr Badr Tasleem (works in Jamia in admn.) who lives in L-17 Jamia Nagar (next door to L-18 where the encounter took place on 4th floor) says that he first thought crackers were being burst but then he had some doubts and came out of his house to see what was happening. The sounds of the gunshots were coming from L-18 – there were already some men, i.e. presumably special cell men and the residents of the house, up there. He heard a scream. The gunshots continued. Then a group of men led by a man in kurta pyjama (who Mr. Tasleem has identified in one newspaper photo- he was possibly a plainclothes special cell person) with guns came running by asking for the way into the building (L-18) and ran up- planning among themselves as to who would "cover" whom (in the event of firing upon them).
Gunfire continued from the top floor of the house. There was no police cordon that he could see around the house or even too much in the lane. At least no one in uniform. After some time they brought down one man who was wearing a white shirt and blue tie- he was supported on two sides by two persons. Mr. Tasleem later learnt that this was Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma. There was no blood on the front of his shirt/clothes when he was brought down, except a small spot or mark on the right of his shirt. (not sure about this at all). The firing continued after that. They then brought down one person but completely wrapped up so he could not see who it was. They then brought another person's body but that was not covered. He could not see whose bodies these were.The first time he came out of his house hearing gunshots (which were already being fired) was around 11 am and they continued till about 11.40. There was no police cordon before the Special Cell people had gone upstairs- ie before the gunfire started. And even when he got out of his house to see what was happening he saw that there were only 5-7 policemen around. There was no barricade at the end of the road either. The full force came only after 11.20 a.m. or so. A very large number of policemen came. Before that there were Special Cell (or STF as everyone here calls them) people in plainclothes but they could not tell.

5. Account of Ex-Councillor Mr. Asif Mohammad(He was independent councilor and won from the entire area – including Sukhdev Vihar, Maharani Bagh etc- i.e not just 'Muslim' areas and had taken up the incident of fake encounter of Abu Samal in the same area in the month of Ramzan in 2002 (check). In that case the police had made two eyewitnesses disappear. The people had held demonstrations in front of police station etc- he was then arrested and detained as a 'SIMI' member for eight and half months in jail and for some more months under NSA as they said he was with LeT. He was implicated in 24 cases and is presently an undertrial.) He arrived on the spot around 11.10 or 11.15 am.
According to him there was police presence in the area from the night. Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was seen at the juice stall outside at 11 pm on the night of 18th Sep. (He heard this from one of the local youths who has been a petty criminal and recognized Inspector Sharma). He says that there are eyewitnesses (who stay in house opposite L-18) who say that police 'Gypsies' went past the house twice at night – once at around 2-3 a.m and once at 4 am. People were awake on account of Ramzan schedule and they saw these. (We found no eyewitness nor much corroboration of this police presence from before. There was of course a lot of checking in the area after the blasts.)He said that these boys had applied in the local police station (PS Jamia Nagar) for tenant verification – and there was a copy of this pending application with him. The application is stamped and received on 21 August 2008. The copy was with the person who was the caretaker of the house Abdur Rahman who works with PWD and lives nearby, who was acting on behalf of the landlord who lives in Ghaziabad (according to rent agreement, landlord's address was Aligarh). Abdur Rahman showed this to some TV channels and after that he was also picked up. Police wanted him to give them the form. They have also picked up his son Zia. They are now trying to say that this form is fake, their stamp on it is fake etc. However various NGOs also can distribute the form, Asif Mohd. said, and also one can download it from the net- they could look different therefore.Atiq who was killed used to earlier stay in Sangam Vihar (??) …If they were planning blasts would they in the application for verification have submitted their original village address (part of driving licence given as proof) – and PS (Sarai Meer, dt. Azamgarh). Also they put in the application after the blasts in July and before the blasts in Delhi. Would they if they were mounting such an attack have given these truthful and original addresses?Also all 5 names of those who were renting the house (Zeeshan Ahmed, Md. Saif, Md. Sajid (24 years) and Md. Sajid (20 years) and Mohd.Khalid) were added on the tenant verification form.
Asif Mohammad knows the area and the PS Sarai Meer in Azamgarh- and knows that the police there have had no complaints regarding the families of these youth.About a week ago one Abdul Rashid Agwan (??), an older man, was picked up from Shaheen Bagh by the Special Cell and interrogated about SIMI – he had been member (?) – he was repeatedly asked to name youth aged between 25-26 who had been part of SIMI whom he knew. He did not know anyone in that age group being an older man, and said so to the Special Cell who let him go with a threat.Asif Mohd. raised questions about how Mohan Chand Sharma died, and says that according to his informal sources he was not hit from the front but from the back.Badr Tasleem who we spoke to before him had said that Sharma had no blood on the front of his body. By the time Asif Mohd saw him (or saw a man) near the Khaliullah mosque – there was a lot of blood on the lower part of his body.At 11.10-11.15 when Asif Mohd came there was nobody from the media barring one man, one Saba Israr (???). They could not tell about how many policemen there were because many were in civilian clothes.

6. Account of Masih Alam, advocate, resident of L-17 Jamia NagarAccording to Adv. Masih Alam, he first heard firing from inside L-18 at around 10.45 am. (Ruk ruk ke firing ki awaaz aa rahi thi). He got out of his house to see and saw that there were 2-3 policemen at one end of the road (where the barricades now are) and 2-3 persons on the other side. After about 5 minutes (after 10.45 am) one injured person was brought down on foot supported by police…Then some 4-5 people wearing bullet proof vests went running up and then he heard the sound of 5-7 shots being fired. Then 2 policemen went up with a stretcher and got a body down.There was very little police presence at least in uniform till then. There was no one below the flat for instance. But it would be impossible for anyone to escape from there. He does not know who the boys killed were- he has not been formally shown the pictures of those killed and is unable to say if these boys used to stay or visit there often.
As for the account that there was police and Special Cell presence in the area from the night he did not know much about it. There was a lot of checking in the area since the blasts.Area leader Pervez Hashmi (present councilor?) etc came later around 11.10 am or so along with LN Rao and Karnail Singh of Special Cell (the police say that they had taken him, Hashmi, into confidence).The firing according to Masih Alam continued for about 15-20 minutes.

7. According to other observers while there were very few policemen on the street there was a very heavy outer cordon of police at least by 11.15.

8. Meeting at Jamaat Islami e Hind office, Abul Fazl Enclave-Ameek the cousin of Atiq gave his own background and that of Atif's own eldest brother Raghib Ameen, one of the most senior news camera men in Delhi. They had all studied in Shibli School in Azamgarh- had come to the town to study from their village Sanjarpur in Azamgarh District). Atif asked Raghib's advice about what he could do as an elder in the family and Raghib told him to come to Delhi and take admission in Jamia. Atif wanted to stay with friends close to where he was to study and he asked Raghib and shifted near Jamia. He could not get admission into Jamia and joined B.Sc IT course in a private institute at South Extension. He stayed at that time in a DDA flat in Jasola. Had been in Delhi for 3 years. Just recently in July-August he got admission in PG course in Human Resources Management (?) course in Jamia – and Ameek was aware that he had done so. He had also learnt that Atif had shifted closer to Jamia- he had told his brother that his 20 rupees daily conveyance fare would be saved by shifting to this new locality.Ameek did not meet him very often but happened to meet him 10-12 days ago. Atif asked him about a job or work- saying 'kab tak amma abba ke bharose rahenge'. Ameek told him that once he finished the course he could look for work.Atif was 23 years old when he was killed.

9. Sajid the boy who was killed was just about 16-17 years old. (Ameek first told us about Sajid, then Sajid's brother Arshad came –he was in tears and had just come from Dubai where he works- Sajid is his youngest brother – Sajid and Arshad had two other brothers- Arshad was 17-18 years older than Sajid. Arshad told us and gave us a copy of his Identity card showing that Sajid was born in March 1991- therefore not 20 years old as given in police verification form) Sajid had come to Delhi to try to join Jamia in 11th standard. He had already completed his 11th class in Azamgarh but wanted to come here to better his chances. He did not clear the entrance examination, and was hoping to try again.The family had not been officially informed about his death.

10. Ameek told us about the other two youth whom he knew about who shared the room. Khalid was enrolled in the second year of the BSc MLT (Lab Technician's course) at the Jamia Hamdard University.

11. Saif who is arrested had done his MA in History from a University in UP. Ameek met him when he met Atiq 10-12 days ago – he asked Saif what he wanted to do/be…Saif replied that he wanted to be a pilot- when Ameek asked him why he said that he had always been attracted from childhood when he used to see aeroplanes…

12. Zeeshan who was arrested by the police coming out of the Headlines Today office and shown as being arrested in Jhandewalan – had gone to write an entrance exam…had done a management course at IIPM(????) and had left home at 8 am that day. His father teaches at Shibli college, it is an educated family and like many others his father wanted his son to do well, go to Dubai or somewhere and earn some money, get a good job…and Zeeshan too was trying. His family members and everybody else are shocked.

13. We also got copies of a letter sent by the newly formed Indian Muslims Coordination Committee (formed for aiding in this case) to the Delhi State Minorities Commission in which they have demanded a judicial enquiry into this encounter.

14. We also have a copy of a letter sent by one student Suhaib Akhtar stating that one of his co tenants, one Mohd Rashid, s/o Shiv Murat, a research scholar in JMI was picked up on 18.09.08 by police in civil dress and had not reached the house till 20.09.08- the letter is addressed to the Lt. Governor and asks about the whereabouts of his co-tenant.

15. At the Jamia Nagar Police Station, the SHO Mohd Iqbal had gone to Court (there had been 3 arrests in this connection and hence he had to go to court). The Additional SHO also supposedly was not there/ did not want to speak. The FIR registered into the encounter (against the dead accused and others- we don't know contents) is no. 208/2008.(PS Jamia Nagar- 26943227; 26945563; SHO Mohd. Iqbal- 9313609151; ACP (Sarita Vihar)- 26825588)

शुक्रवार, 26 सितंबर 2008

“It is a Fake encounter”, say the people

Preliminary Statement of the fact-finding team that visited Jamia Nagar, the place of the alleged ‘encounter’ of the police

A team of teachers, students, civil rights activists and intellectuals visited the site of the alleged encounter of the police with the ‘terrorists’ as claimed by them, on the 24th September 2008. The team comprised of Prof. Siddique Hassan, Deputy Amir Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, SAR Geelani, Reader, Zakir Hussain College, Delhi University, Dr. Waqar Anwar, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Dr. SQR Ilyas, Editor, Afkar-e-Milli, Suvojit Bagchi, Journalist, Anil Chamaria, Journalist, Dr. Karen Gabriel, Reader, St. Stephens, DU, Rona Wilson, Secretary (Public Relations), Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), Mahtab Alam, Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), Banojyotsna Lahiri (JNU), Vanessa Chisti (JNU) and Sumati Panikkar (Independent Researcher)

The following is a synopsis of the preliminary findings of the team. This will soon be followed by an exhaustive report of the team after putting together a lot of background information along with more findings and inputs. The exhaustive report will be an elaboration of the following statement of facts with substantive documentation.

Of fear, terror and suspicion
The team started its investigation at 11.30 AM on 24 Septemeber in Jamianagar area under Jamia Nagar police station. Even five days after the encounter the tension was palpable in Jamia Nagar & the adjacent areas. People were seemingly scared to talk to the fact-finding team. The stress & tension, generated after the encounter, was evident. People were nervous and requesting us NOT to mention their names under any circumstances. In the University premises the team had to face hostile queries whether we were from the media. The hostile media trial of the entire Muslim community that accompanied the bomb blasts was visible right from the premises of the university to the area of the encounter where the team visited. We felt, this is largely because of the witch hunt that ensued after the ‘encounter’ story of the police of two students at House No. L-18, Batla House, Jamia Nagar and the scores of arrests of Muslim youth from the vicinity. In fact, the arrests had already started right after the day of the blasts on the 14th.

In such a scenario, to instil confidence in the people was an uphill task, as they were at the receiving end of the state terror out to brand anyone daring to speak in favour of the deceased in the ‘encounter’ as ‘accomplices’ and ‘masterminds’ of the successive blasts in India. The police action followed by the media trial only parroting the ‘official version’ had created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion among the people. Whosoever the team had talked had the stamp of fear on their face.

The team had to keep in mind the feeling of incarceration and isolation not to say the terror of an authoritarian and prejudiced state that was writ large on the locality. There is definitely the palpable fear of the people of anyone and everyone picked up and framed by the police, who have a story for every occasion.

Police Siege and the wages of state terror
To start with, the Gali where the House No. L-18 is located has been barricaded with a huge posse of police laying siege to it and the surrounding buildings. No one is allowed to enter the House No. L-18. The constables of Delhi police told us, albeit politely, that they need to ask for permission from higher authority to let us go close to the building. We are allowed after about 15 minutes. However, we were not allowed to enter the building, L-18. Rather, a man who is a resident of the house was asked to come out and give his version. As we spoke to that man a contingent of police officers, constables, plain clothes officers from special branch were surrounding us. We got this man’s ‘version’ in the middle of all these. We also came to know, the key of the house (L-18) is with the police and they had to go undergo thorough checking whenever they ventured out or returned. Even the people staying in the nearby buildings also had to go through the police scanner. It was as if they were under house arrest. The children in the household were facing trauma-induced depression and had to resort to medical care. We also came to know, the kids missed their all important examination because of questioning by police on 19th September. They get scared of any kind of sound or noise thinking that it was a gunshot. The fear of anyone becoming the target of a vicious police action had taken over the psyche of these young minds. We also came to know two more families residing in L 18 have left the place after the encounter.
On further investigation we came to know that one family which has one woman pregnant left the house, because that woman was getting stressed under the circumstances.
The heavy presence of the police, in uniform and plainclothes, has only aggravated the situation. When we asked police personnel present in and around the area as to why the police is still laying siege to the premises the authority did not have any satisfactory answer.
It is also important to mention here, through out the process, we were followed by special branch officers. Infact, a journalist, who was not the member of the fact-finding team and a member of the team, was routinely questioned about the details of the other team members. Anyone, even from mainstream media visiting the area more than once, is called up by special branch.
The flat where the so-called ‘encounter’ has taken place in still sealed. The alleged seizure of weapons, laptop, etc., from the flat was done without any proper witness to the whole exercise. None of the members of the flat, not to say, of the locality was witness to the high profile ‘seizure’, which the police celebrated in the media. The conduct of the police was and is still shrouded in secrecy and arbitrariness that have only invited further wrath of the people. This in no way will instil confidence among the people. On the contrary, it has added further misery to their lives.

“It is a Fake encounter”, say the people
We could not find a single person in the entire locality who could agree with the story of the ‘encounter’ of the police. There is a complete unanimity in the opinion of the people about the one-sided nature of the firing and the time for which it continued. Further, there are some witnesses, (who would not want their name to be mentioned) who vouched that these youth who had fallen to the bullets of the police were just ordinary youngsters who had taken their career and their studies seriously. These witnesses have said that initially there were gunshots for 15 minutes. Then it stopped for a while. Then after a while the police went on firing intermittently for quite sometime positioned on the terrace and the Gali to show that it was a real encounter. In between, the police went on shouting loudly to create a feeling of real exchange of fire and project a real encounter. Later, the police declared that the encounter was successful. After the firing, the police had destroyed the flowerpots of the L-18 flat and the adjacent flats and used the pieces of the broken pots to break the windowpanes of L-18 to make it look like a REAL encounter.
No one told us about an exchange of fire. It was ‘only one kind of sound’, they all emphasized.
After visiting the rear and the sides of the L-18 flat, no one could have bought the story of someone escaping as there was only a single entrance, which the police had already been covering. It was impossible for anyone to jump from the fourth floor flat, as it would have resulted in near death or fatal injury. It demolishes the theory of police that two of the ‘dreaded terrorists’ have run away. More importantly, one of this ‘terrorists’, Zeeshan, surrendered to Headlines Today Channel, within hours of ‘jumping and running away’ from a fourth floor flat. Why will he do that – the locals ask.
There are also witnesses to three men dragged down from the fourth floor to the ground floor. None of the body of the deceased was shown to anyone. All the bodies were covered by clothes and were kept in a vehicle which was taken inside the porch of the flat.
The people of the locality are asking unanimously: Where have all the bullets gone?
Why Police is NOT allowing media to go inside L 18 and shoot and talk to people even almost after a week? Do they have anything to hide? Normally it is done within a few hours!
Why the police did not try to arrest these ‘masterminds’ alive? This is randomly done in India & rest of the world. In that case it could have helped the administration more. Isnt it?

Clear evidence of point-blank shots on the head of Sajid
The photographs after autopsy of Sajid (17 year old) show clear marks of 7-8 gunshots on his head from above. These shots, which are at point blank, cannot happen in the case of an encounter. Because in case of an encounter, where the shots are fired from a distance, the wounds would open up.
Police Version of fake Tenant verification disproved
Prominent citizens of the locality have already questioned the story of the police of fake tenant verification. They have said that none of the details provided including the driving license, address, rent agreement paper were forged. The claim of the office stamp of the authority as fake was also disproved by the citizens in a press meet as they showed their own copies of tenant verification which was carrying the same official stamp. The Locals also feel, even if the forgery has been done by the owner and the caretaker of the house – NO INFORMATION GIVEN ABOUT ATIF IS FALSE. Factually, as we came to know from local people, not a single information given – whether it is about his last residence, parentage, driving license or permanent address – proved to be wrong
Mystery shrouding the death of Inspector MC Sharma
No one is ready to believe that Inspector Mr. M C Sharma was killed in an exchange of fire.
There are several witnesses having seen him taken away by two men in plainclothes to a Santro car stationed near the Khalliullah Masjid with bleeding wounds of bullet shots on his shoulder.
It is intriguing to note as to why such an officer of importance for the Special Cell of the Delhi Police went for an operation without any protection and why he was walked all the way to the car. Moreover, the Hospital, Holy Family, which treated Mr Sharma has been told by police not to talk to press or civil society – that what we found out.
The people of the locality are asking: Why would the most dynamic of Special Cell Officers, Mr M C Sharma, would go to an operation – where he may nab the masterminds of deadly blasts – without wearing Bullet Proof Jacket?
Moreover, the police team also made sure that the ‘terrorists’ are hiding in that flat by sending an officer in the guise of mobile salesman, prior to sending the rest of the squad. So after confirming the whereabouts of the ‘masterminds’ how could a senior officer go without any protection?
Simmering tension
Any discerning eye can make out the simmering tension pervading the entire area of Jamia Nagar and its vicinity. Everyday is passing by with a new arrest and yet another story from the side of the police. The role of the media, except a few reports in certain dailies, has more or less demonized the Muslims. More and more Muslim youths are being picked up. Even those who have gone and surrendered before the police or media have been framed under several charges. In these circumstances the people are one in saying that they are being pushed to a situation where they have total distrust of what is becoming in the name of ‘war against terror’.

Our Demands:
1. Immediately withdraw the police siege of Jamia Nagar in general and the Gali where house No. L-18 is situated.
2. Stop harassing Muslim youth under the garb of ‘combating terror’.
3. Initiate a high-level judicial enquiry of the entire episode.
4. Make public the autopsy report of the two youth in the ‘encounter’.
5. Make public the autopsy report of Inspector MC Sharma. There should also be a judicial enquiry into the circumstances leading to his death.
6. Press & civil society should be allowed to talk to doctors/authorities of the Holy Family Hospital
7. The State has to provide for the medical counselling of the residents of Jamia Nagar, who have been affected by this encounter
8. Police should stop releasing selective photos from CCTV cameras to Press to build opinions against Muslims.