Jamia university teachers release report on Batla House shootout

February 20th, 2009 - 11:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) The Teachers Solidarity Group of the Jamia Millia Islamia Friday presented its fact-finding report on the shootout at Batla House here last year in which two alleged terrorists and a police official were killed.
The group questioned the resistance to an independent probe into the incident.

“So far, conflicting versions have been provided by the police,” the group said in its fact-finding report presented at the Edward Said Hall in the university.

“Why is there such rigid resistance to any independent probe on the part of the government and Delhi Police? So much so that the lieutenant-governor has even rejected a magisterial enquiry, which is mandatory as per NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) guidelines on encounter killings,” the report said.

On Sep 19 last year, two alleged terrorists and a police officer were killed in a shootout at Batla House in south Delhi, six days after serial blasts rocked the capital.

The Jamia group report is based on police statements, press reports, testimonies of families and friends of the accused and other documentary evidence.

Renowned novelist Arundhati Roy, Supreme Court lawyer Colin Gonzalves and Jugal Kishore Shastri, priest of the Ram Janki Temple in Ayodhya, along with some witnesses also expressed their views on the occasion.

Gonzalves demanded that the NHRC be made more accountable.

“The NHRC keeps pleading that it cannot conduct parallel enquiry, and yet the very basis of the NHRC’s existence is that it should conduct parallel investigations, and in fact it should also ask for the copies of the police investigation. It is time we demanded our NHRC to be more accountable to us,” Gonzalves said.

Roy called the fight for justice in the Batla House shootout as a fight for real democracy.

“The fight is for a democracy where killings are not celebrated or awarded,” Roy said.

Shastri said incidents like the shootout at Batla House were attempts to suppress the upward mobility of Muslims.

“When Muslims in Azamgarh are experiencing upward mobility, this is an attack to push them down again,” Shastri said.

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