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Batla house encounter: Slain cop's family happy with verdict

The family of Delhi police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, who was killed in the Batla House shootout in Jamia Nagar on September 19, 2008, yesterday expressed satisfaction over the verdict, and said the family now awaits the final judgment.

Delhi police
The encounter: In 2008, seven days after the capital was rocked by serial blasts, Delhi police carried out an encounter after they believed that IM operatives were housed at Batla House. Pic/Rajeev Tyagi

A Delhi court on Thursday convicted the lone accused and Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Shahzad Ahmad in the controversial shootout that killed Sharma. Sharma’s octogenarian father, Naurottam Sharma said: “I am satisfied with the court’s decision, but await the final judgment. I am worried that the accused can move the higher court.”

The slain inspector’s 76-year-old mother Devinder Devi also said that she was waiting for a final judgment that would bring justice to her son, who lost his life in a brave attempt to apprehend terrorists involved in Delhi serial blasts of 2008. “I don’t know who killed my son. But I can never forget his martyrdom,” Devi added. Sharma’s wife said that she was very relieved after the court’s verdict as it is a proof that the encounter, in which her husband died, 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, which has convicted Shahzad Ahmad, no one will say that it was a fake encounter,” she said.

Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar Shastri convicted Ahmad for killing Sharma. Sharma, who had won seven gallantry medals, including a President’s Medal, was gunned down during the Batla House encounter, seven days after serial blasts rocked the national capital. It was suspected that members of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) were hiding in a house in the area. Ahmad was said to be present in a flat in Jamia Nagar when the shootout took place.

Glad police were able to prove their case: Chidambaram
Finance Minister P Chidambaram yesterday expressed joy that police were “able to prove their case” but also defended Congress leaders who questioned the incident’s veracity, saying “they meant well”. ”I am glad that the police have been able to prove their case. Earlier, the NHRC and the high court also held that there was no reason to doubt the genuineness of the encounter,” he said. When asked about comments made by his party colleagues who claimed the shootout was fake, he added: “They (leaders) meant well. They were reflecting the views of the families in the area.”

Civil society group to help convict
A civil society group comprising Jamia Millia Islamia teachers expressed shock over the conviction of Shahzad Ahmad in the Batla House shootout case and vowed to seek justice for him in a higher court. “It was a huge disappointment for us. We will definitely approach the higher court for justice,” said Manisha Sethi, president of Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association (JTSA). Sethi said they fought for five years to reveal the real face of Delhi Police who staged the shootout and arrested the innocent people. 

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