New Delhi: Days after the National Human Rights Commission gave Delhi Police a clean chit in the Batla House encounter, community leaders appear prepared to accept the findings and move on but not the activists.
A gunbattle between Delhi police officers and alleged terrorists on September 19, 2008 in Capital’s Jamia Nagar Fierce killed two suspects and Inspector MC Sharma.
The guns soon fell silent but angry voices grew louder, alleging the police encounter was fake.
The court then ordered an NHRC probe, which has now – almost a year after the incident – given a clean chit to the Delhi Police.
The Commission in its report has said, “There were no human rights violations by the police in the Batla House encounter. The gunmen lodged inside the house had first opened fire and the police officials acted in self defence under Section 100 of the Indian Penal Code. Swab samples taken from the hands of the alleged terrorists - Atif and Sajid - were found on the guns used to shoot at the police party. M C Sharma sustained critical gunshot wounds in the action carried out by the gunmen inside the Batla House building”.
But this hasn’t allayed the fears of residents of Batla house.
“We want to know what is the basis because we never saw anyone coming to the spot or speaking to eye-witnesses over here,” says one of them.
Even human rights activists feel the Commission has just put across a police version.
“They haven’t examined Saif, who was one of the people arrested by Delhi police. They haven’t examined the people in Batla House. They haven’t explained why Sajid had those four bullet wounds on his head and why Atif's back was completely scraped and show signs of torture,” says activist Prashant Bhushan.
While the report has found some takers in Muslim leaders, there are still voices that are in strong favour of a judicial probe...
“If the government agrees, it will in fact expose those who are looking to make political capital out of it and will only serve to increase the moral of our security forces,” says MP and Head of Jamaat Ulema-e-Hind Mahmood Madani.
Many police officials are being cautious and will consider this controversial episode a closed chapter only when the court makes its observations on the NHRC report on August 10.