To, Date:- 22.11.2011
Jamia Millia Islamia
The Batla House ‘Encounter’ of 19 September 2008 angered, shocked and terrorized the Jamia community. Police continued to pick up young people from the community and labeled them as terrorists. In this backdrop Jamia Millia Islamia intervened to restore community’s fast losing faith in the judicial system. Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association (JTSA) has played a pioneering role in this struggle for justice. Most important Jamia initiative was the declaration of legal aid to the affected families. Prof. Mushirul Hasan the then Vice-Chancellor had promised to provide legal aid and teachers also announced to donate a month’s salary for the cause. The Jamia community collected Rs. 1 lakh for the same purpose. In addition, Mr. Amar Singh, the then Samajwadi Party leader had also donated Rs. 10/- lakhs to the legal aid fund.
The Jamia Legal Aid Fund not only helped raise important funding to fight legal battle, it also helped the local community to feel united and work in solidarity for justice. By rising to protect the dignity of its own community Jamia Millia Islamia set an ideal example of the role of a university in a modern secular democracy. We are happy that you as the Vice-Chancellor have also reiterated the same support for the victims and their families.
I as part of this glorious institution have been inspired by Jamia’s history of fighting for the victims. I have filed around 50 RTIs on Batla House ‘Encounter.’ Delhi Police has claimed to have killed two important members of the Indian Mujahideen. What I have found from the RTIs is that the authority’s unwillingness to allow an independent judicial probe has dented the Delhi Police’s claim of biggest achievement in counter-terrorism.
JMI’s announcement to provide legal aid had created hope in the community. Unfortunately in last three years there has been no concrete steps, neither there has been any FIR lodged against the Delhi Police. I am writing to you to request that we need to stand up to the moral duty and lodge an FIR against Delhi Police so that the legal process can start. Three years have passed at least 19 young men have been in jail without any charge-sheet. I earnestly request to your office to provide legal aid to the families of Atif and Sajid and other 19 who have been in jail for last three years.
Moreover, the last incident of inviting Lt. Governor Tejender Khanna for convocation was like adding salt to the wound of the victims and the larger community. Mr. Khanna is the same person who rejected the call for an independent inquiry into the Batla House ‘Encounter.’ In doing so he violated the NHRC 2003 directive that each police encounter must be independently probed. I have earlier lodged strong protest against Jamia’s decision to invite Mr. Khanna and have decided to discontinue my studies (as an M.Phil student).
I would like to draw your attention that I suspect that I have been put under surveillance by Delhi Police Special Cell. Inspector Ramesh Chandra Lamba called me on 17 Nov 2011 and asked me to come to the Lodhi Road office of the Special Cell on 18 Nov 2011. I wanted my fellow friends to be aware of this call from the special cell and received enormous support from students, friends, activists and lawyers throughout the country. On Friday 18 Nov 2011, Inspector Lamba called to inform that there was no need to visit the police office. Upon my inquiry of the reason behind the police call, he wanted me to know why I opposed the Lt. Governor’s presence to Jamia. I explained everything in detail including my background.
I am aware that this kind of harassment of our students is commonplace in Delhi and on behalf of Forum for Student Democracy (FSD) I appeal to you to restore students’ faith in the university, in the political system and in the secular democracy of India. Jamia has a glorious history of standing with the victims and spearheading the struggle against injustice.
I once again earnestly request you to release the legal aid funds for the victims of police atrocities and initiate the process of filing an FIR quickly. Jamia had lost a young man during the Batla House ‘Encounter’ 2008. Government and NHRC responses to my RTIs reveal that the encounter was rather a shoot out, to which some call a cold blooded murder. I am in the possession of these RTI information which raise uncomfortable questions on the authenticity of the police version of the encounter. An FIR lodged by Jamia will save at least the life of 19 men jailed without charges in several jails in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Release of Muslims on bail arrested in connection with Malegaon blast is a glaring reminder that many people have been in jail without any evidence against them. Jamia’s credibility as a leading institution of higher learning can be useful if you take proactive steps to lodge an FIR in to the cases of Delhi Serial Blasts 2008 and the Batla House ‘Encounter.’
In the meantime, I along with other members of FSD would like meet you. We would like to have an appointment with you at the earliest so that you are aware of our major concerns and grievances. As I have decided to discontinue my studies at Jamia, I would like to submit my ID card to you and will continue my struggle for democracy and justice.
I am sure you will stand with us in this battle for justice.
(Afroz Alam Sahil)
Convenor, Forum for Student Democracy.
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Forum-for-Student-Democracy/111995942241472