सोमवार, 28 जून 2010

Batla Panel in communal web

By: Amit Singh

Three non-Muslim members of  
fact-finding team appointed by Delhi Minorities council refuse to visit area

FACT is stranger than fiction. Even as the Batla House encounter of September 19, 2008 continues to intrigue the nation there seems little possibility of the truth coming out any time soon.

A fact-finding team was appointed by the Delhi Minorities Commission to analyse actions of the police subsequent to the gun battle and to assess and scrutinise the communal atmosphere prevailing in the south Delhi colony.

Truth hurts: The fact-finding mission alleged step-motherly treatment
by the government. The panel was appointed to probe into the allegations
that the Batla House encounter was fake.  file pic

Fear reigns
But the team, which was formed on November 5, 2008, got mired in communal web as three non-Muslim delegates of the four-member panel refused to visit the area.
"The communal tension that erupted after the encounter scared my colleagues so much that they refused to even visit the locality and asked me to do all the groundwork," Maqsood Ahmad, a member of the team, told MiD DAY.

The tension was so palpable that there were rumours as to how several police officials posted in the area actively sought transfers. "As I was the only Muslim member my colleagues asked me to go and analyse the situation and write the report. They said they were ready to sign the report but were not prepared to go with me," Ahmad said.

The committee was asked to submit its report within a month but they have not been able to reach a conclusion till date. The panel members, however, put the onus on the government saying they were left in the lurch. "They treated us like orphans. We were clueless about our mandate. The government did not even provide us with basic necessities like office space and stationery," said Ahmad.
"No funds were released from their side. Also, we were not introduced to top police officials investigating the matter," Ahmad added.

Mum's the word
When MiD DAY tried to contact the other three members of the panel - DK Pandey, Dr. Mahender Singh, and Rev. Manoj Malaki - they refused to comment on the issue.
"We did a lot of probing but have been unable to submit our report. We were called by the chief minister several times and asked to aggressively carry out the work. But what went wrong at the last moment is still a mystery," Ahmad alleged.

When MiD DAY questioned Kamal Farooqui, who was chairman of the DMC till a week ago, he said the fact-

Batla update
Delhi Police has sought that the trial in the Batla House encounter and September 13 serial blasts cases of 2008 be conducted simultaneously. The cops claimed there was overlapping evidence in the cases at the time of filing chargesheet against two Indian Mujahideen (IM) suspects - Shahzad Ahmad and Salman Ahmad - in a city court.
finding committee didn't do their work as per directives.   
When asked why the commission did not initiate any action, Farooqui said: "I am no more the chairman, you will have to speak to the commission about it."

I have been pursuing the matter, thanks to the Right To Information Act. In response to an RTI plea, the Delhi Minorities Commission had revealed that the fact-finding team is yet to submit it's report.
- Afroz Alam, RTI activist
This committee shall record the statements of the witnesses and immediate residents of the area individually, analyse them and hold further inquiries for corroboration/derogative of the statements. The committee shall also obtain the version of the Delhi Police. - The order by which Delhi Minorities Commission formed the fact-finding team
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. The post-mortem reports of the two youths, Atif Ameen, 24, and Mohd Sajid, 18, were 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 from a blunt object apart from gunshot wounds.
* Eight out of 10 bullet entry wounds on the body of Atif are on the backside, 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.

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