No headway in The controversial case

Sep 20, 2011, 07:21 IST | Shashank Shekhar

The inquiry committee set up by Delhi Minorities Commission to look into the issue has not been able to submit its report till date, owing to problems such as lack of help and workspace crunch

The inquiry committee set up by Delhi Minorities Commission to look into the issue has not been able to submit its report till date, owing to problems such as lack of help and workspace crunch

Even after three years of the infamous Batla House encounter, residents of Bthe locality are still waiting to know the reality behind the encounter. They have expressed resentment over the entire episode. According to an RTI reply, the Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) had proposed inquiry into the Batla House encounter which never happened. They neither visited Batla House nor did they talk to anyone from the area.  DMC's response to the RTI filed by Batla House residents revealed all these details.

Encounter site: House no. L-18 of Batla House society

What are the facts?
DMC had constituted a fact finding committee through a departmental order dated 5 November, 2008, setting a month's deadline for the submission of the report. A fact-finding team was appointed by the DMC to analyse actions of the police subsequent to the gun battle and to assess and scrutinise the communal atmosphere prevailing in the south Delhi colony. But the team, which was formed on November 5, 2008, got mired in a communal web as three non-Muslim delegates of the four-member panel refused to visit the area. "The communal tension that erupted after the encounter scared my colleagues so much that they refused to even visit the locality and asked me to carry out all the groundwork," Maqsood Ahmad, a member of the team, told MiD DAY.

A display board by protesters demanding judicial inquiry into the
encounter, at Zakir Nagar, in New Delhi, on Monday. Pics/Subhash Barolia

Sensitive issue
The tension was so palpable that there were rumours as to how several police officials posted in the area actively sought transfers. "As I was the only Muslim member, my colleagues asked me to go and analyse the situation and write a report. They said they were ready to sign the report but were not prepared to go with me," Ahmad said.

The committee was asked to submit its report within a month but they have not been able to reach a conclusion till date. The panel members, however, put the onus on the government saying they were left in the lurch. "They treated us like orphans. We were clueless about our mandate. The government did not even provide us with basic necessities like office space and stationery," said Ahmad. "No funds were released from their side. Also, we were not introduced to top police officials investigating the matter," he added.

'Won't give up'
Batla House resident Afroz Alam, who has unearthed information regarding the case, said, "I have been pursuing the matter, thanks to the Right to Information Act. In response to a plea, the Delhi Minorities Commission had revealed that the fact-finding team is yet to submit its report." A response to an RTI, filed by Afroz on the Batla House encounter also reveals that amongst many documents and parcels as collected and packed by the Delhi Police from L-18 Batla House, also included a book, the Panchatantra. Thirty sealed parcels were sent for examination. These included four sealed envelopes, six sealed glass bottles and twenty sealed cloth parcels.

Testing times
This was revealed in the biological examination report prepared by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibrating Laboratories (NABL).  NABL is an independent agency that works for the government and non-government organisations as well. In this case, the NABL report was prepared for the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Ministry of Home Affairs.

Web users do their bit on Facebook
A strong protest was also seen on the Web world against the Batla House encounter. Facebook users have blackened there profile pictures to mark their protest. "Observing a black day on the 3rd Anniversary of Batla House Encounter. Friends, join us in a Facebook protest by blackening your profile picture," said the status update of Gufran Hussain on Facebook. Around 500 users have changed their profile picture to protest against the encounter.

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