Saturday, November 1, 2008

Our investigations have reached a stage where we shall have to delve deeper and raise very sensitive and sensational questions pertaining to the raid at Batla House by the Special Operations Cell of the Delhi Police which culminated in the killing of two Muslim youth alleged to have been terrorists and the unfortunate death of the high profile Inspector M.C. Sharma. Since the air is already thick with suspicions, doubts, allegations, counter allegations and it is being openly and unequivocally said that the issue has assumed proportions of national importance and, what with the local as well as national polls just round the corner, all political parties are likely to use it as a plank, our sincere endeavor is to get to the truth.
The main questions sought to be addressed and answered by us can be summed up as follows:
(a) Were the two boys killed in the encounter terrorists; in other words, did police have prior information of their true and assumed identities and their antecedents?
(b) Did they deserve to be killed in the manner they were killed? (We have already pointed out in a scientific manner the way they were shot dead)
(c) Had L-18 been under police surveillance for any length of time?
(d) Was the raid meticulously planned beforehand, or was it an impromptu operation staged under certain pressures.
(e) How and when was Inspector M.C. Sharma shot? Did he die of bullet wounds? More than one policeman, including HC Balwant Rana must have witnessed his being shot, but no one has come forward to tell what happened, and who was responsible for shooting and injuring the inspector?
(f) How many senior officers supervised the raid? Were they in radio contact with police headquarters?
(g) Were there five persons present in the flat at the material time? If yes, and two of them escaped, why didn't the police follow their escape route?
(h) If an AK47 rifle and two.30 bore pistols were recovered "after a thorough search by ACP Sanjeev Yadav", what weapons did the alleged terrorists use to fire at the police?
(i) Why was additional police force called in after the encounter was over?
(j) Who masterminded the Delhi blasts, Atif or Abul Bashar? (Contradictory claims have been made by Delhi and Ahmedabad police. This allegation needs to be specifically clarified from a legal point of view)
(k) To what extent have our intelligence agencies been successful in predicting and/or preventing terrorist strikes in the country during the past ten years? (We are going to publish a national survey on the subject.)
(l) Has Azamgarh really become a hub of terrorist activities? If not how come so many youth from that district have recently been arrested in various states on the charge of being terrorists?
After we started to analyze scientifically the 'encounter' at L-18 Batla House and exposed glaring holes and contradictions in the police story, even the electronic media changed its stance, and some channels even went to the extent of questioning the genuineness of the entire incident. Senior journalists of international fame like M.J. Akbar and Vir Sanghvi agreed with us not only about the manner in which Atif and Sajid were killed but also about the very institution and character of encounters and encounter specialists. Even Delhi police have remained silent on all questions except protesting the news that Inspector Sharma was under transfer at the time of the alleged encounter. What is quite obvious to everyone is the fact that the police are trying their best to hide something about the death of Inspector M.C. Sharma.
We now invite our readers to mull the following pointers and clues arising out of the police version and general facts as they are. We request you to think and analyze the facts fairly, objectively and impartially in order to arrive at an honest to God conclusion in response to the million dollar question: was the encounter at L-18 fake?
1. L-18 Batla house is a four storied building with two flats on each floor, a single stairwell and only one entrance. All open spaces are secured by iron grille and there is no way out except through the only gateway. The adjacent buildings to the right and left are only two storeys high. There is a narrow lane in front and an even a narrower lane at the back.
2. There is irrebuttable documentary evidence on record that Atif had submitted his correct details (including his mobile phone no.) to the police in the tenant verification form receipt of which was duly acknowledged by the local police on August 21, 2008
3. The shooting is said to have begun at around 11 AM. Eyewitness accounts say that the regular police arrived about fifteen minutes later, and the media arrived five to ten minutes after the police, by which time the area had already been cordoned off.
4. The faces of the victims of the 'encounter' killings were not shown to anyone. No immediate combing in the area was undertaken to search for the 'escaped terrorists. The media was not allowed access to the scene of the encounter; rather, the flat was immediately sealed. By the time the media arrived, Mohan Chand Sharma already been carried down four floors of stairs with wounds which eventually proved fatal.
5. Zeeshan who also shared the flat was writing the IIPM entrance test at the time of the alleged encounter and was arrested later in the night of 19 September from the Headlines Today studios at Jhandewalan, soon after he had been interviewed there which was only partially aired. He too has been alleged to be a terrorist.
6. So far, no personal motive for the crimes has been alleged by the police except for saying that all persons arrested so far owe allegiance to one terrorist group or the other.
7. A succession of organizations such as the HUJI, SIMI and the IM have already been named by different State police as the organizations responsible for the blasts that have taken place in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi and for the bomb scare in Surat. Atif has been alleged by the Delhi police to be the mastermind of all blasts after several others such as Abul Bashar, Tauqeer, etc. were claimed to be the masterminds. His name was never mentioned earlier, not even when the sketches of the Delhi Bombers were released. And now Mumbai police say that Tauqeer is a creation of the media.
8. The Special Cell now claims that the police verification form is forged, despite the fact that it is countersigned by the duty officer and bears the seal of Jamia Nagar Police Station. And these documents were handed over to the media by the caretaker of the apartment within two hours of the alleged encounter and he could barely have had enough sufficient time to have carried out the forgery. And the particulars given in the form are genuine, anyway.
9. The police so far not carried out a Test Identification Parade by witnesses who claim to have seen those responsible for the Delhi bomb blasts? No TIP was conducted before the burial of the bodies of Atif and Sajid who were shot dead? And the sketches initially circulated by the police do not match Atif's and Sajid's photographs.
10. Saquib Nisar, who the police claim was mastermind of the mastermind Atif and provided logistical support for the serial blasts in Ahmedabad and the bomb scare in Surat, was taking an MBA examination from July 23 to July 28, 2008. Copies of his admit card and exam sheets signed by the examiners are on record.
The rat race among various police agencies to claim credit for arresting dreaded terrorists and masterminds is resulting in the targeting of Muslim youth. This must stop immediately. It appears that after several scapegoats, the police have now shifted focus to Azamgarh which is being branded as the nursery of terrorism. This unmindful and malicious targeting of young Muslim boys from Azamgarh or those who may have been members of SIMI in the past has led to an enormous sense of insecurity, fear and resentment in the Muslim community of the country in general and young Muslim boys from Azamgarh or those who may have been members of SIMI, in particular.
It is very unfortunate and disquieting that a large section of the mainstream media, especially the electronic media, has been unjustifiably glorifying police action and supporting their successive absurd stories and concoctions based not upon scientific investigation but only on confessional statements made by the accused while in police custody. Not only has it defamed a large number of innocent people but is also responsible for growing communal tensions and polarization of the communities.
(Readers can send their reasoned responses and replies either through email on the following address)

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