“Police version and probe are riddled with contradictions”
New Delhi: A fact-finding team comprising Janhastakshep and the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) has demanded a comprehensive, time-bound probe by a sitting Supreme Court judge into the September 19 police encounter that killed two alleged terrorists and injured a third in the Jamia Nagar area of Delhi.
Addressing a press conference on behalf of the team, Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the police version of the encounter and subsequent investigations were riddled with contradictions, and raised serious questions that only an independent probe could answer.
Mr. Bhushan asked to know whether the police team knew in advance that the occupants of L-18, Batla House, where the encounter took place, were hardcore terrorists. If this was so, it was inconceivable that police personnel experienced in tackling terror would go to the spot without protective bullet-proof gear. If the police had no prior knowledge that the occupants were terrorists, then they could not claim within hours of the raid, as they had done, that these very men masterminded all the recent blasts, including the September 13 serial bomb blasts in Delhi.
“How did they reach this conclusion without even the opportunity to interrogate the person arrested and a thorough investigation of the evidence from the scene of the alleged encounter,” he asked.
Mr. Bhushan also questioned the police claim that two other terrorists had escaped during the encounter. He said that the building, which had a single exit, was guarded by a posse of policemen, making any escape highly improbable.
The Supreme Court lawyer pointed out that Mohammad Bashir alias Atiq, portrayed by the Delhi police as the mastermind behind the Delhi and other blasts, had given his correct personal details to the police in a tenant verification form submitted to the police on August 21, 2008. As to the police claim that the form was forged, and that the police seal on it was fake, Mr. Bhushan said he had examined the original documents and was absolutely convinced that they were genuine.
He pointed out that many of the alleged terrorists currently in the custody of the Delhi police were picked up from television studios – where they had gone to clear their names – and instantly labelled terrorists.
The police had so far not conducted a test identification parade of the alleged terrorists in order that eyewitnesses from the various blast sites could identify them. Nor had the police released the post mortem reports of the two slain “terrorists” and the police officer, M.C. Sharma, who was killed in the counter-fire.
Mr. Bhushan alleged that a witch-hunt had been launched against innocent Muslims in the name of terrorism. These included gold medallists with impeccable credentials. He said the indiscriminate arrests coupled with the unvetted media coverage of the many police claims, had led to Muslims as a whole being projected as terrorists.
Calling a halt to the “dangerous trend,” he said that a transparent, impartial enquiry was essential to restore the confidence of the minority community in the justness of the Indian constitutional system.Related Stories
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