It has been a year since policemen stormed the narrow
lanes of Delhi's Jamia Nagar and gunned down two terror suspects
while arresting five youth. But the anger still rages and even the
ongoing Eid festivities have done little to blunt the memory of that
Family members of the two alleged
terrorists Mohammad Sajid and Mohammad Atif and of the five who
continue to be behind bars at the high security Sabarmati prison in
Ahmedabad are determined to continue their fight for justice. They
say they won't leave the struggle even to Allah.
Saquib Nisaar, Zeeshan Ahmad,
Zia-ur-Rahman, Shakeel Ahmad and Mohammad Saif were arrested Sep 20,
a day after police shot dead Sajid and Atif in L-18 building in the
congested Batla House locality. Delhi Police Inspector M.C. Sharma
was also killed in the shootout that police said was part of an
operation to unravel the conspiracy behind the Sep 13 serial blasts
in Delhi, six days earlier, that killed 24 people.
The grieving families say their
children had nothing to do with the blasts.
"I want justice for my son and those
killed by the police. My son is in jail for a year and there has
been no proper enquiry; even after a year the trial is yet to begin.
Is this justice?" asked Nisaar Ahmad, the father of Saquib Nisaar.
The 60-year-old from Azamgarh in Uttar
Pradesh has met his son nearly twice a month in the last year and
says the sight of his weeping son has only strengthened his resolve
to fight for justice.
"This, I will not leave to Allah. I
will take his blessings but will fight it on my own."
The delay in the trial of the Sep 13,
2008 blasts has prolonged the agony of the kin of the deceased and
So far, police have filed a
chargesheet against 30 people for the serial attacks. Of them, 12
have been arrested while two suspects were killed in the Batla House
gunfight. Sixteen are absconding.
It was a refrain then but locals and
civil liberties activists still allege that police had staged the
"encounter" to ward off pressure after the blasts.
"If their claim that these boys were
actually terrorists is true, what was the problem in setting up a
judicial enquiry into the incident? Let the truth come out," said
Mohammad Ajmal, 42, a resident of Batla House.
Echoed Manisha Sethy, activist and
member of the Jamia Teachers Association: "The government is
responsible for delivering justice to its people, but in this case
it seems to be otherwise. The government seems to be adamant on
denying justice by not even setting up a judicial enquiry."
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
that gave a clean chit to the Delhi Police after being ordered to
probe the shootout by Delhi High Court has also come in for flak.
According to Sethy, the NHRC did not
visit the area or speak to any of the witnesses.
Zeba, a homemaker who lives on the
first floor of L-18, says she is witness to the fact that no
official from NHRC even visited the building.
"The incident happened three floors
above. But why did NHRC officials not want to ask me questions?
Isn't it strange?"
The memories of the day are vivid and
residents of Jamia Nagar, which falls in the Okhla assembly
constituency, vented their anger in the assembly by-election
Thursday by voting out the ruling Congress and bringing in Rashtriya
Janata Dal's Asif Mohhamed Khan as their legislator.
"We want to teach the party a lesson.
Votebank politics is a dangerous game and people have seen through
this," said Adnan Farooqui, 30, a software engineer.
"The issue has not died. It is very
much in our minds and will continue to remain," said Jamal Ahmad,
64, while selling fruits in his shop at the corner of the crowded
Batla main road where shoppers mingled ahead of Eid next week.
As Batla House readies for Eid three
days away and a torchlight procession to highlight the demand for
justice Friday evening, residents of the predominantly Muslim
locality remember the two among them who died a year ago and the
five behind bars still awaiting trial.
Khalid Akhter can be