Batla House encounter genuine, says court

Batla House encounter genuine, says court

Around five years after the controversial Batla House encounter, a city court on Thursday held suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) member Shahzad Ahmad guilty of killing Delhi Police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and attempting to kill two other police personnel.

“He (Shahzad Ahmad) is found guilty of attempting to cause death of head constables Balwant Singh and Rajbir Singh and causing death of Inspector M C Sharma by firing on them,” said additional sessions judge Rajender Kumar Shastri.
Shastri also held Ahmad guilty of obstructing a public servant from executing his duties. The court will decide the quantum of the sentence on July 29.

However, Shastri acquitted him of the offence under section 174A (failure to appear in specified time and place as required by a proclamation by court).

“Whatsoever it may be, it did not give any licence to the occupants of a flat to fire on police personnel who came there to investigate a case. They were expected to assist the police and not attack them. The accused is thus convicted,” the judgment stated.

While senior police officers and the wife of Mohan Chand Sharma welcomed the court’s decision, Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association (JTSA)
expressed its disappointment. It will now move the high court.

“We welcome the court’s decision. Our team’s morale was at stake,” said a senior police officer.

Maya Sharma, wife of the slain police officer, said she felt “very relieved” after the court’s verdict “as it proved that the encounter was genuine.”

“This issue was made political by saying that it was fake. Those who tried to divert the attention in this case kept saying that it was a fake encounter. After the court’s verdict, no one will say that it was a fake encounter,” she said.

Huge disappointment

However, Manisha Sethi of JTSA said: “It was a huge disappointment for us but is not the end of the struggle. We will approach the higher court for justice.” Seventy witnesses, including six eye-witnesses, were examined and circumstantial evidences verified.

Ahmad, who was arrested in Khalispur village, Azamgarh, on February 1, 2010, was
accused of shooting at police officers, along with his associates Atif Ameen, Mohammad Sajid and Ariz Khan alias

Junaid. The police on September 19, 2008, went to his residence at L-18, Batla House, in Jamia Nagar to arrest them.

While Ahmad and Khan managed to flee, Ameen and Sajid were killed in the shootout. Mohammad Saif, who was also at the house, surrendered after the gun-battle.

On September 19, six days after serial bomb blasts rocked Delhi, killing 26 persons and injuring 133, a special cell team led by Sharma received a tip-off that suspected IM members were hiding at L-18, Batla House.

When he went there to arrest the suspects, occupants of the flat, including Ahmad, opened fire on the police.

Sharma succumbed to bullet wounds sustained during the gun-battle while Balwant Singh was injured.

Ariz Khan is absconding while Mohammad Saif is lodged at the Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad in connection with the 2008 Gujarat serial blasts.

TIMELINE

 September 19, 2008     An encounter takes place at Batla House in Jamia        Nagar, leaving two ultras dead. Delhi Police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma also killed.

 September 20, 2008   Protests at Jamia Nagar over encounter

 January 11, 2012  Digvijay calls encounter fake

 January 12, 2012  Chidambaram says encounter genuine

 February 11, 2012  Salman Khurshid says pictures of the Batla House
encounter moved Sonia Gandhi to tears

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