मंगलवार, 30 मार्च 2010

Muslims are not the only targets: Afroz Alam

Afroz Alam, whose RTI into the Batla House encounter has started ruffling many feathers, says bullets do not discriminate on the basis of religion

For those who cry foul, as a matter of occupation rather than making the right noises, this 22-year-old student

is holding the great mirror of truth up before the world।

It took months for him to exorcise the ghosts of the gunfight in his university's backyard and much more to come out victor against those who would have not spared a second to label him a terrorist. But then, Afroz Alam Sahil, 22, is made of some other stuff.

The final year student of Mass Communications at the Jamia Millia Islamia University was one of the hundreds of students who have to bear the mental trauma in the wake of the Batla House encounter of September 2008.
"It was really a tough time for all of us at the university. But, it only strengthened my resolve to fight for the truth," he told MiD DAY.

Alam filed a Right to Information (RTI) plea, seeking information about the autopsy of the two suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists Atif Amin and Mohammad Sajid, who were killed at the house number L-18 of the Batla House by the sleuths of Delhi Police's Special Cell.

"I was not the only one who filed an RTI plea into the matter, but none of them got the reply at the first instance। However, I kept following it and was determined to get an answer. Jamia par jo daag laga tha, use maine apne RTI ke zariye dhone ki koshish kiya hai (I hope to clear all the doubts that were raised against the University in the wake of the Batla House encounter by way of my RTI)," said Alam, who hails from west Champaran district in Bihar.

Alam disagreed with the notion that the Muslims are being targeted by the law enforcement agencies in the

The highly secretive autopsy report, which the Special Cell of the Delhi Police refused to make public despite repeated demands by civil society groups, and which finally came out of the closet on March 17, after sustained efforts by RTI activist Afroz Alam Sahil, further strengthens the barrage of uncanny questions raised from all quarters challenging the authenticity of the September 19, 2008 police encounter in which the two youngsters from Azamgarh were killed. Special Cell cop MC Sharma too was killed in the 'encounter'. His post-mortem report has also been disclosed. This fact was revealed in the post-mortem reports of Atif Ameen, 24, and Mohd Sajid, 18, provided by the NHRC.
Some points revealed by the RTI
The four-page autopsy reports reveal that Atif Amin and Mohammad Sajid had suffered injuries by a blunt object apart from gunshot wounds.
Eight out of 10 bullet entry wounds on the body of Atif are on the back side, in the region below the shoulders and at the back of the chest, which point to the fact that he was repeatedly shot from behind.
Sajid's post-mortem report says there were two wounds on his body which were not caused by a firearm. These injuries were antemortem in nature i.e caused before his death.
Sajid was shot three times in the head with the bullets travelling downwards.

country. "There have been instances where Hindus have also been targeted. The only difference is when Muslims are targeted, the government calls them terrorists and when Hindus are the victims, they are either labelled Naxals or Maoists."

Alam who moved to Delhi in 2005 to pursue his graduation, claims that the positive outlook among the student in Jamia has returned. "Ever since I have got the reply, I am getting congratulatory calls from various students of the college. The teachers have also appreciated the move and encouraging more and more students to come forward and fight for their rights rather than crying discrimination."

"I just wanted to set an example for all the students of our college and people from our community. I want that Muslims should participate and take leading role in every field. I hope my initiative will bring some hope for them," said Alam.

An RTI activist, with more than 1000 RTIs to his credit that occupies most of the space in his choc-a-bloc room, Alam has also taught the nuances and importance of RTI to the people in his native town of Bettiah in Bihar.

He had launched a Hindi newspaper 'Leek Se Hatkar' in Bihar in June 2008 but could not carry it forward due to financial crunch.

Buoyed by his success in the highly controversial Batla House encounter case, Alam has resolved to take his battle to a bigger field. "I will continue my fight to bring about positive changes in the life of the common man."

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