Encounter or Cold Blooded Murder? Lawyer Speaks Out
BHOPAL: “It is a clear cut case of a fake encounter” says the lawyer who had been defending the eight young men who were killed just yesterday by the police in Madhya Pradesh. A brave man, advocate Parvez Aalam has no hesitation in pointing out to The Citizen that the questions raised by this gruesome incident directly contradict the claims made by the police till now.
It is a story where the word ‘alleged’ becomes central to every single statement made by the police and the authorities in Madhya Pradesh till now. Eight youth, alleged to be members of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had been arrested by the Madhya Pradesh police on a host of charges including sedition, murder, bank robberies, assault between 2011-2013.
Till date they were all undertrials, at what is called the ‘evidence stage’ where the trials had not been completed. The eight—Amjad Ramzan Khan,Majeed Nagori,Zakir Hussain,Sheikh Mehboob,Mohammad Saliq,Akeel Khilji,Khalid Ahmed,Mujeeb Sheikh—were all in the 25-35 age group, and are now all lying dead with justice proving elusive. The families are grieving, and terrified to speak, with many having lost all they had in the long court battles. Lawyer Aalam is amongst the few with the courage to speak for the law, having fought any number of such cases in Madhya Pradesh. He says that in at least 90% of the cases he has represented, the courts have had to acquit the accused because of lack of evidence.
In these cases too he was fighting their innocence. The jail break story put out by the authorities has a strong alleged attached to it, as the questions raised by the lawyer and others in Bhopal have still be satisfactorily answered by the authorities. Instead there have been conflicting versions from the police and the others, with one statement by the ATS and the police reportedly at variance. The first claimed stone pelting, the second firing.
Video clips are in circulation showing the men standing on a rock, and voices around sugg.
Eight alleged Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) undertrials were killed reportedly in an encounter, after a jail break. They have all pleaded their innocence in the courts, with the trials still on.
The eight men were killed by the Bhopal police in a deserted area with the claim that they had broken out of one of the highest security prisons in India, slit the throat of a guard, and countered the polcie posse because of which the latter had to open fire.
Serious questions have been raised by advocate Aalam that demand answers. The authorities, however, have still not been able to credibly respond to these basic questions, sticking to a garbled narrative that makes no sense at the moment.
The police claim that the eight were all housed in the same barrack, so as to explain how they were able to coordinate the jail break.
Aalam when asked says that all eight, given the operating procedures of jails, were housed in separate barracks and were not allowed to meet. So much so that they were not even allowed to offer their Friday prayers together. However, he has been the first to raise the demand for CCTV footage to establish the police claim, that they were all in the same barrack. As he said every inch of the Central Jail in Bhopal is covered with CCTV cameras and the footage will establish whether the 8 were in the same barrack. A section of the media is now reporting, after he raised this issue, that the cameras were not working. This is not an officially stated claim so far, but ‘source’ based.
The police claim that the boys fashioned a key out of a toothbrush?
In a high security prison the locks are so easily opened? Alam laughs when asked about this, saying that in district prisons then the touch of a hand should be able to open doors.
A guard was killed with his throat reportedly slit with utensils fashioned into weapons.
In high security prisons all utensils are taken back by the prison staff lest these be used against each other in prisoner fights. How this utensil was left behind needs to be probed.
The youth scaled the wall outside the prison.
This is 32 feet high. How did they manage to do that with just bedsheets? Even if they did so, how did the first man reach the top of the wall? And even if he did how did eight scale the walls without alerting prison security and the sentry’s on 24 hour watch around the jail?
They broke a gate on the second wall to get out.
As Alam says men why did men who could scale a 32 foot wall need to break a gate in a five foot wall. This would have created sufficient noise. Where were the guards?
They were all dressed in civilian clothes?
The obvious question here: who gave them these clothes?
They were armed?
There seems to be no evidence of that. Unarmed men were killed by the police.
Lawyers in Bhopal spell out the modus operandi of fake encounters. Prisoners are told they are going to be released, given civilian clothes, bundled into a police vehicle, taken to a deserted spot and shot dead. The incident becomes an encounter.
The Bhopal encounter has created a huge stir with senior politicians like Digivija Singh of the Congress, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanding a full probe. A video clip shows the dead bodies, and a man in plainclothes firing again into a seemingly inert body lying in the fields.