The Batla House encounter, a controversial story with dire situations, is an elongated case that finally got closure. However, with the turn of events, it seems like the matter might finally close. Recent updates state that Ariz Khan, an involved person in the issue, is convicted for the murder of the Delhi Police officer, Mohan Chand Sharma leading the Delhi Police Anti-terrorism squad at the time.
What Was The Batla House Encounter?
The Batla House encounter followed the series of five bomb blasts that exploded in Connaught Place, Greater Kailash and Karol Bagh, killing 30 people and injuring over 90 people on 13th September 2008. After the first blast, the media received an IM email, claiming their involvement in the same. It stated that these outbursts were revenge for the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.
Six days later, on 17th September 2008, the Batla House takes place. It revolves around the Delhi Police Anti-terrorism squad led by Mohan Chand Sharma, raiding L-18 Batla House in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, Okhla area of the national capital, a probable Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist hideout. The alleged terrorists involved were: Ariz Khan alias Junaid, Atif Amin, Mohammed Sajid, Mohammed Saif and Shahzad Ahmed.
By the end of the 20-minute gunfight engagement, Mohan Chand Sharma, along with two alleged terrorists held killed, two officers ended up injured, and three other terrorists had escaped. Atif Amin and Mohammed Sajid were killed, Saif was arrested while Shahzad Ahmad and Ariz Khan escaped. The encounter, however, seemed too unbelievable and, conspiracy theories declared it a staged plan. It raised questions for the public: Why was the team lead, Mohan Chand Sharma, devoid of a bulletproof vest? In the presence of so many police officers, how was the leading inspector shot? How did three terrorists escape? With an increase in unanswered inquiries, the civilians started believing in the rumours and, it looked as if the Delhi Police had something to hide.
Controversies And Politics
A conspiracy asserted that Delhi Police wrote this story for some inspectors to win and achieve medals for promoting themselves. The two escaped terrorists indicated their involvement with the police on the agenda. Tracing back to the time, one also realises that the incident took place two months before the 26/11 attacks. In a public interview, extremist and legal advisor Prashant Bhushan brought up issues about the episode. He investigated if the police realised that the occupants of Batla House were subsidiary with the IM. On the off chance that they were, Bhushan said the police not wearing impenetrable coats was unfathomable. On the off chance that they were not, it had neither rhyme nor reason that a couple of hours after the experience, the police professed to have secured the brains of the sequential impacts. The same police force supported a series of terror movements in Northern India, scaring the whole country.
Many even thought that it was the Hindu-Muslim card played, and since there was no evidence of the accused being terrorists, the Jamia Milia University students held protests.
Rumours also discoursed an association of the government on this. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee also doubted the authenticity of the Delhi Police. She demanded a probe to lower the morale of the Anti-terrorism squad. Salman Khurshid said that Sonia Gandhi had tears in her eyes when she heard that the killing of two terrorists took place.
However, the same government, the highest gallantry award of Ashoka Chakra, was granted Mohan Chand Sharma posthumously. The public accused the government of wrongly giving the Ashoka Chakra Award to Mohan Chand Sharma, who they thought did not perish in the line of duty.
Sequence Of Events
Long after the encounter, Shahzad was arrested from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh in January 2010. A year later, on 15th February 2011, the Court frames charges against Shahzad of murder, attempt to murder conspiracy and various other sections under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In a charge sheet released on 11th February 2011, the Delhi police pronounced that the encounter was part of a probe into the serial blasts at Karol Bagh, Connaught Place, Greater Kailash and India Gate to avoid obstacles of conspiracies in trials. On 25th July 2013, Court holds Shahzad guilty for the murder of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and the assault of other police officers on the team. A life imprisonment sentence is granted to Shahzad for his offence five days later.
Current Ariz Khan’s Probation
After the Batla House encounter, Ariz Khan escaped to Nepal and took up an eatery in Nepal along with teaching. A stubborn IM, Riyaz Bhatkal, talked him into rejoining by connecting with Indian Mujahideen in Saudi Arabia. In 2018, to relaunch Indian Mujahideen, he came to India via Nepal and got arrested at the Banbasa border between India and Nepal. The police developed an insight into this through Abdul Sohan a month earlier, who revealed Khan and his plan to the police. After knowing his whereabouts, the police arrested him.
The trials went on for some time. Now, Ariz Khan, a B.Tech student from STA Engineering College in Azamgarh, is convicted by the Delhi trial court under the accusation of killing Mohan Chand Sharma. Mohan Chand receiving the award calumny finally settles. Khan is declared as the mastermind of the 2008 serial blasts across Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, in which 165 people lost their lives with 500 injured.
Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad now calls Mamata Banerjee and her measure of doubting the Delhi Police a pure deviation and deliberate attempt to favour votes. He says, “Mamata Banerjee in 2013 raised suspicion over Delhi Police and called the incident at Batla House to be a ‘fake encounter’. She had even demanded a judicial probe into the matter while she had claimed in 2018 that she will quit politics if the case and the findings are true.”
He also holds charges against Sonia Gandhi and Salman, saying, “There was conscious, deliberate and consistent attempt to cast serious doubt over the authenticity of Batla House incident designed to weaken the morale of Delhi Police and give clear support to terrorist and their design for pure vote bank politics.”.
Further quoting him, “You might have listened to Salman Khurshid say that Sonia Gandhi had tears in her eyes when she got to know that two terrorists have been killed.”. Prasad seeks an apology from Mamata Banerjee, Sonia Gandhi and Salman Khurshid for the same.
The Court Verdict
While calling it the “rarest of rare” cases during their judgement, Ariz Khan is awarded the death penalty for the murder of inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, offences and crimes involved in engaging with the terrorist party. A penalty of ₹11 lakh gets imposed on Ariz, and ₹10 lakh is to be deposited right to Mohan Chand Sharma’s family. The judge said that “I feel the fine of Rs 10 lakh is insufficient. Hence, I am referring the matter to Delhi Legal Services Authority for the award of additional compensation.”.
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