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Protests against Human Right Commission in New Delhi, Azamgarh

Saturday, July 25, 2009 10:29:02 AM, Mumtaz Alam Falahi

Protest against NHRC Report

Azamgarh, Rights Group to demonstrate against NHRC report today

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New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission would not like to remember this Friday as the apex government body to protect human rights received more bricks than bouquets in several parts of the country when people came out to condemn its biased report on the Batla House encounter.


Protest demonstrations were held in Jamia Nagar in East Delhi, in front of the NHRC headquarters in Central Delhi and 700 kms away in Azmagarh – the native town of the two youths killed in the encounter. The protesters burnt the copies of the report and reiterated their demand for judicial enquiry in the case.


The 30-page report that NHRC prepared following the Delhi High Court order to probe the September 19, 2008 shootout at House No. L-18 in Batla House area of New Delhi’s Jamia Nagar has given a clean chit to the Delhi Police for the encounter in which two terror suspects were killed and Police Inspector MC Sharma sustained bullet injuries which he later succumbed to.


The NHRC concluded the report saying there was no violation of human rights in the Batla House encounter as the police opened fire only in self-defence.


This enraged the human rights activists, Jamia Nagar residents and Azamgarh people including relatives of the youths killed in the shootout. After Juma prayer they came out to protest the report. They said that the rights body just accepted the police version of the case and did not bother to approach the neighbours, civil rights groups which had carried out investigations on their won and the families who repeatedly urged the body for representation and always ignored.


NHRC headquarters

“It is painful that rights activists are protesting against the NHRC, supposed to be the protector of rights of citizens, for its own bungling in a probe of encounter,” said renowned civil rights activists Shabnam Hashmi leading a protest demonstration called by several groups at the headquarters of the NHRC. It is shameful that the national rights body just adopted the police version of the encounter and did not bother to visit the site and talk to locals, she said.


ANHAD which she leads and PUDR had filed petition in the Delhi High Court for judicial probe of the encounter. Disclosing a little known fact related to the issue she said: the Manmohan Singh government had agreed for a judicial probe just before the elections but Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit approached the party and the government to change the mind as this will sweep the Hindu votes away from the party, Shabnam said.


On 20th May, the Delhi High Court, acting on a petition filed by the People's Union for Democratic Rights and Anhad, had asked the National Human rights commission to conduct their own inquiry into the alleged Batla House encounter of September 2008 and give a report upon it. This order of the High Court was made after the High Court was shown reports of four independent organisations into the encounter, including the report of PUDR, the Delhi Union of Journalists, the Jamia Teachers Solidarity Group, all of which seriously questioned the version of the Delhi police regarding the encounter. These reports and the petition filed by the PUDR had pointed out several specific problems with the version of the Delhi police. In particular, the following questions were raised about the version of the Delhi police.


1. If these boys were killed in a genuine encounter, how did the 17-year-old boy Sajid have four bullet holes on the top of his head, which could only happen if the boy was made to sit down and shot from above.


2. How is the skin peeled off from Atif's back? This was clearly visible in the photograph taken before his burial which is annexed to the PUDR petition. Obviously Atif had been tortured before being killed.


3. How are the other blunt injuries on the bodies of the boys explained by the police version of the encounter?


4. If the police knew in advance (as they claimed) that these boys in the flat were the terrorists involved in the Delhi and other bomb blasts, why did Inspector Sharma go in without a bullet proof vest?


5. How could 2 of the boys escape from the flat which had only one exit (two doors next to each other) and from a building which had only one exit?


Raising these loopholes in the police story about the shootout she condemned the NHRC for not bothering to look into them.


Addressing the gathering national coordinator of Association for Protection of Civil Rights Mahtab Alam lambasted the police for its constant policy of carrying out fake encounters. Kavita Krishnan (CPI ML Liberation) also addressed the gathering.


At the end of the protest a statement given to the media has question the very basic structure and appointment of members to the NHRC.


“The time has come to seriously reexamine the manner of appointment of members of the NHRC and its powers. The present system of appointment by a committee of Prime Minister, Home Minister, Speaker and Leader of Opposition etc. is not working satisfactorily. All of them seem to want a toothless and tame body which will not question those in power,” reads the statement.

They demanded constitution of a SIT by the Delhi High Court to probe the case.


“Since the NHRC report does not address or answer the disquieting questions raised by the several independent fact finding reports about encounter, it is therefore essential that there be an investigation into the "encounter" by an SIT appointed by the Delhi High Court,” they said.


Signatories to the statement are: Shabnam Hashmi (Anhad), Moushumi Basu (Secretary, PUDR), Mahtab Alam (APCR), Dr. Anoop Saraya (Jan Hastakshep), Harsh Mander (Director, Center for Equity Studies), Sreerekha & Tanvir Fazal (Jamia Teachers Solidarity Group), Colin Gonsalves (Director, Human Rights Law Network), Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court Lawyer, Arundhati Roy (Writer), Kavita Krishnan (CPI ML Liberation) and Kamini Jaiswal (Advocate).


The protestors burnt the copies of the NHRC report in front of the main gate of the NHRC headquarters.


Batla House

A big protest demonstration was held near Khalilullah Masjid, meters from the House No. L-18 where the encounter had taken place on September 19, 2008. People condemned the NHRC for the biased report on the encounter.


The NHRC report has further maligned the Jamia Nagar and strengthened the police propaganda that the area is a hub of terrorists, said Asif Muhammad Khan, ex-councillor who gave a close fight to sitting Congress MLA in the recent assembly elections on the sole issue of the encounter.


After going through the report it feels that the police prepared it and NHRC people just signed on it, alleged Khan. He warned that people of the area will soon gherao the headquarters of the NHRC.


Addressing the gathering, Dr Tasleem Rahmani, leader of Ulema Council, said the UPA has never been serious and honest about probe in the case. Had it been so it would have ordered a judicial probe, he said.


The demonstrators burnt an effigy of the NHRC and a copy of the report.



A protest was also held before the office of the District Magistrate in Azamgarh. Scores of people including the victim families attended the protest and demanded a judicial probe in the shootout. The protest was organized by PUCL, Sanjarpur Sangharsh Sewa Samiti and Karavan.


Giving details of the protest to TCN acting president of UP PUCL and secretary of Sanjarpur Sangharsh Sewa Samiti, Tariq Shafiq said they had gathered to condemn and reject the NHRC report on Batla House encounter and reiterate their demand for judicial enquiry.


“We have handed over a memorandum to the DM to be sent to the President of India. We have demanded a probe by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court into the encounter,” Tariq said.


The four-point memorandum has three other demands: end of violation of human rights of those detained in jails in terror cases, a probe into the beating of some Azamgarh inmates languishing in Jaipur and Ahmedabad jails in terror cases, and permission to the students made accused in such cases and are in jails to continue their study, Tariq added. (





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