Asad Ashraf

On Monday, I landed up at the Times Now studio, with hopes that I would be given a fair chance to put across my points concerning the authenticity of 2008 Batla House encounter. It was in the context of recently released video of the ISIS terrorists, one of them supposedly being the one who managed to flee the ‘encounter’ scene back in 2008.


I was called to the debate probably because of my journalistic work around it and reluctance to accept it as a genuine encounter ever since it took place in 2008 in the light of several discrepancies and loopholes in the police version of it.

Being a student of Jamia Millia Islamia, University then, we were part of several movements, that demanded an independent judicial inquiry into the matter.

All this made me a perfect recipe for Times Now and its narcissist anchor Arnab Goswami, to launch another vilification campaign against a ‘Muslim’ youth, as he did with Umar Khalid and his fellow comrades.

Arnab did not show the slightest of hesitation in calling me a cover for Indian Mujahedeen, just because I could muster courage to point out the loopholes in the Batla House encounter.

Of course I did so without proclaiming innocence for any of them killed in the encounter, as I believe it was the duty of the judiciary to decide the same.

But I had forgotten one important fact; In Arnab Goswami’s ‘court’, he is the sole judge and prosecutor.

I strongly questioned the authenticity of the video released by the ISIS, in which one Sajid Bada was shown to be warning of waging a war against India. Ironically, Sajid Bada has been declared dead three times by media before.

And this was my point of argument while doubting the authenticity of the said video. At this Arnab Goswami lost his cool and started shouting at me as if I was a criminal undergoing a trial in his court?

It was then, when Ratan Sharda, also in the panel called me a frontrunner of terrorist organisations, to which I lodged my strongest objection.

But, instead of paying heed to my opposition to his remarks, ‘Jurist’ Arnab asked me to remain calm so that Sharda could continue to keep hurling allegations against me.

Others in the panel were quick to term our modus operandi of work as that of sleeper cell of terrorist organisations, who manufacture consent among a section of society before launching any attack.

Arnab did not bother to stop these gentlemen from making such serious contentions but ensured that I was put on mute mode, so that I could not take part in the debate any more. Later, I was brought back into the debate, but only for it to be concluded.

For me, it was a first-hand experience of how ridiculous Arnab and his panelists could be. They can stoop down to any level to implicate Muslims into their narrative of terrorism.

For them, questioning the authenticity of Batla House encounter is tantamount to supporting ‘Indian Mujahideen’ and the ISIS. However, I am glad I went and experienced what friends have complained about him before.

If by any chance, Arnab is reading this, let me reiterate my position that there were lot of loopholes in the police version of Batla House encounter, which would prompt any right thinking person to doubt its legitimacy. If Arnab lacks that logic, he really can’t be helped.