November 2, 2008

Encounter of Bihar boy in middle of the road at Mumbai

Posted in Encounter, Human Rights at 11:51 am by zarb

Encounter of Bihar boy in middle of the road at Mumbai

A gun-wielding youth from Bihar was killed by the Mumbai police after he fired indiscriminately and threatened passengers on a state transport bus in the Kurla suburbs this morning.

The incident quickly assumed political dimensions, with leaders from Bihar rushing to meet Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to demand a probe into the incident, and the Centre’s intervention to stop violence against north Indians in Maharashtra.

The bizarre incident occurred at around 9:30 a.m. aboard a BEST double-decker plying on the 332 Andheri-Kurla route. The youth, identified as Rahul Raj, hailing from Patna, swiped out a country-made revolver and threatened the conductor with it after he was asked to buy a ticket, witnesses said.

Cornered in the Bail Bazaar area, the youth fired indiscriminately inside the bus, which injured passenger Manoj Bhagat, police said. Police responded with retaliatory firing in which Rahul was killed. He was pronounced dead by the local Rajawadi Hospital at Ghatkopar. The wounded Bhagat was admitted to the same hospital with serious injuries.

Passengers told police that the youth was shouting “Jai Bihar, Jai Patna”, and hurling abuse at Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Mr Raj Thackeray. Police said they suspected that the gunman was trying to take the bus passengers hostage and “this is being verified”. Maharashtra home minister Mr RR Patil backed the police action saying they have done their duty correctly.

Following today’s incident, the state government restored ‘Z’ class security for the MNS chief which had been withdrawn after his arrest last week.

In New Delhi, putting aside their traditional rivalry, top Bihar leaders Mr Lalu Prasad and Mr Ram Vilas Paswan joined Bihar chief minister Mr Nitish Kumar and Congress leader Ms Meira Kumar in meeting Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to demand an immediate ban on the MNS, the arrest of Raj Thackeray for instigating violence and a judicial probe into today’s shoot-out. They told reporters afterwards that the PM “shared our concern” over what was happening in Maharashtra and that he would consider their demand for an all-party meeting on the issue. The PM later called up Maharashtra chief minister Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh and asked him to ensure security of all sections of the society

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August 7, 2008

India: A pattern of unlawful killings by the Gujarat police: Urgent need for effective investigations

Posted in Encounter, Human Rights tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:45 pm by zarb

India: A pattern of unlawful killings by the Gujarat police: Urgent need for effective investigations

Amnesty International today issued an urgent call for independent, impartial and thorough investigations into at least 31 unlawful killings, including those of so-called “terrorist” suspects reported to have been carried out by police officers in Gujarat (western India) since 2002.

The call follows an admission by the Gujarat state government that senior officers of the state police, who were part of an anti-terrorist squad, were directly involved in the killing of a 38-year-old man, Sohrabuddin Shaikh, and his wife, Kausar Bi, in 2005.

The admission came as a result of the intervention of India’s Supreme Court which ordered continued investigations into this case. While welcoming these efforts, Amnesty International remains concerned that the vast majority of other reported unlawful killings have yet to be effectively investigated by independent and impartial bodies.

In the case of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, the Gujarat state government disclosed to the Supreme Court that he was shot dead by Anti Terror Squad (ATS) officers, and that although he had been facing criminal charges including extortion, he had not been linked to terrorism. After his killing in 2005, the ATS branded him a terrorist member of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), an armed organisation in Kashmir, and accused him of conspiring to kill senior leaders of the former ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

The state government also admitted that the ATS officers shot dead his wife, Kausar Bi, possibly because she had witnessed her husband’s killing, and later burnt her body. There is concern she may also have been sexually assaulted. Another key witness in the case, Tulsiram Gangaram Prajapati, was also shot dead by ATS officers – who were already under investigation for the killing of Sohrabuddin Shaikh. Six police officers have been arrested in connection with the case.

Human rights organisations and opposition parties have accused the Gujarat authorities of attempting to undermine the Sohrabuddin Shaikh investigation, after reports emerged claiming the perpetrators were under the orders of a criminal gang linked to the mining industry in neighbouring Rajasthan. The Supreme Court also sought an explanation from the Gujarat government as to why Geeta Johri, an investigator from the state crime branch police assigned to the case, had been relieved of this responsibility. Geeta Johri was subsequently reassigned to the investigation.

Unlawful killings since 2002

The unlawful killings in Gujarat since 2002 include both so-called “terrorist” suspects, and those accused of ordinary criminal offences (see Appendices A and B). The government of Gujarat has stated that 21 such killings took place in the state during 2003-2006. A petition filed by a journalist, B. G. Verghese, seeking independent inquiries into these killings, is pending at India’s Supreme Court.(1)

Amnesty International is gravely concerned that the common features of the killings reveal a systematic pattern:
· At least 16 of the 31 killings, including those of two women, were carried out by the present or former ATS officers.(2)
· Almost all of the victims were killed in the early hours of the day.
· The majority of these killings took place at Ahmedabad.
· Thirteen of those killed belonged to the minority Muslim community.
· The ATS claimed that those it had shot dead were “terrorists”, conspiring to either kill the chief minister or state and national BJP leaders or intending to set off explosions in Gujarat; and at least six of them hailed from Pakistan.

During the same period, at least 15 other killings were carried out by the Gujarat police elsewhere in the state.(3)

· All of the killed faced criminal charges and four belonged to the Muslim community.
· The police versions of these killings were similar in nature: police claimed that all of them died after police fired in self-defence in the course of a “confrontation” either at the time of arrest, or in custody.
· Of the 16 killings, only one appears to have been fully investigated, resulting in the conviction of the police officer concerned in a court of law.

Gujarat: entrenching a climate of impunity

The recent upswing in such killings by the Gujarat police began after communal violence in March 2002 – in which 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, lost their lives – and an armed attack on Akshardham temple in September 2002, in which 37 Hindu devotees and three security personnel were killed.

During this period, the Gujarat government repeatedly claimed it was taking action to foil a series of conspiracies against the state. It had alleged that Islamic fundamentalist militants backed by Pakistani intelligence services had planned these conspiracies in retaliation for the mass killings of Muslims during the March 2002 communal riots.

In late 2003, however, Amnesty International extensively detailed human rights violations – including illegal detentions in Ahmedabad and elsewhere — which were fostering a climate of impunity.(4)

The climate of impunity strengthened over this period. Police and other security personnel believed to be responsible for widespread violations of human rights against the Muslim minority, especially the youth, in Ahmedabad and elsewhere in Gujarat, could operate without fear of investigation or prosecution.

Persistent failures to heed calls for investigations (see also Appendix A)

In 2006, the Supreme Court ordered the Gujarat police to conduct an inquiry into the killing of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, following which six police officials including the former head of the ATS were arrested. Till then, demands for investigations into reported killings by the ATS were routinely ignored.

In one of the cases (that of Samir Khan Pathan killed in 2002), 12 persons were arrested following Samir Khan Pathan’s “confession” while he was in detention. After his killing, they were all released by courts. Subsequently, the state crime branch police had submitted a report questioning the ATS’ version of Samir Khan Pathan’s killing; the same was seconded by another wing of the Gujarat police, but no action was taken.

In two instances where those killed hailed from other states, those of Ishrat Jahan and Javed Shaikh (2004), police from these states launched their own investigations which went on to reveal that they had no criminal or terrorist record as alleged by the ATS. However, the Gujarat government chose to ignore these findings and failed to pursue its own investigations into the killings.

In the case of the two of the killings, those of Samir Khan Pathan (2002) and Ishrat Jagan (2004), India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sought reports from the Gujarat government as to whether the NHRC guidelines for investigating such incidents were being followed.(5). The Gujarat government failed to order such investigations until the intervention by the Supreme Court. This is despite the fact the NHRC guidelines clearly stipulate: “In cases where the police officers belonging to the same police station are members of the encounter party, it is desirable that such cases are made over for investigation to some other independent investigating agency, such as the state crime branch police”.

The duty to protect the right to life and to conduct effective investigation into all unlawful killings

Following the Gujarat government’s recent disclosures in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh case, relatives of at least three of those killed by ATS officers, and branded as “terrorists” intend to petition the judiciary for independent inquiries into the killings.

The state of India (the Union government) and the government of Gujarat have an obligation to protect the right to life as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution(6) and in international human rights law.

Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. Article 6(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is a party, states: “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life”. Article 4 of the ICCPR states that this right cannot be waived “even in times of public emergency threatening the life of the nation”. Unlawful and extrajudicial killings clearly contravene the right to life.

Under Article 2(3) (a) and (b) of the ICCPR, State parties are obliged to ensure that remedies are available to the victims of human rights violations and that those remedies are effective.

The Indian government ratified the ICCPR in 1979. By ratifying an international treaty which enshrines the right to life, India is obliged not only to respect that right in principle, but also to ensure it is not violated in practice. The ICCPR imposes a clear duty on states to investigate alleged violations of the right to life “promptly, thoroughly and effectively through independent and impartial bodies”.(7)

Such investigations are a critical factor in the prevention of further unlawful killings. Without adequate investigation of complaints of extrajudicial killings, there can be little hope of prosecuting and convicting the perpetrators.

Recommendations

    Amnesty International calls on the government of Gujarat and the Union government to:

· set up prompt, thorough and impartial judicial inquiries urgently into all the reported unlawful killings by Gujarat police since 2002;
· to make the terms of reference of such inquiries available publicly;
· and ensure that the inquiries comply fully with the requirements of Principle 18 of the UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extralegal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.(8)

    Under India’s Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the Union or state government needs to sanction the arrest or criminal prosecution of public servants, including police officers and members of the civil or armed forces. This law has not been amended to ensure that public officers who violate human rights are no longer protected from prosecution, despite repeated calls to do so from human rights organisations.

Amnesty International calls for

· Assurances from the government of Gujarat that state sanction/permission will be given for the prosecution of public servants responsible for unlawful killings
· All those responsible for such killings to be afforded due process and brought to justice in trials which comply with international standards of fairness
· Those convicted not to be given the death penalty as this punishment contravenes the right to life and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
· The family and dependents of all the victims to be adequately compensated in accordance with Principle 20 of the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extralegal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.(9)

    Amnesty International is concerned that the NHRC and the Gujarat Human Rights Commission have been unable to ensure that that all the complaints and reports of unlawful killings in Gujarat are adequately investigated. The NHRC has also been unable to ensure that the guidelines issued by it are fully respected by the authorities in Gujarat.

· The NHRC must review urgently its current policy and practice of monitoring unlawful killings, to ensure its guidelines on investigations are followed by the authorities.

APPENDIX A
LIST OF UNLAWFUL FILLINGS OF SO-CALLED “TERRORISTS” IN GUJARAT 2002-2006

Names etc., Case details Date, time and place Details of execution Follow-up details
1. Samir Khan Pathan   23 October 2002;
early hours;
Usmanpura Garden, Ahmedabad.
Resident of Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Police claimed he was arrested on 1 October 2002, but according to his relatives he was arrested on 27 September 2002. The court remanded him to further police custody.
Shot dead well past midnight on 22 October 2002.
Police claimed he had faced several charges including killing a constable in 1996. Police claimed that he later procured a fake passport, went to Pakistant o receive arms training, was working for Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), an armed organisation in Kashmir, and was conspiring to kill Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Police claimed that he was shot dead while trying to flee from custody.
On 11 November 2002, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sought a report, within two weeks, from the Gujarat police, whether investigation into the incident was done as per its guidelines enunciated on 29 March 1997. The Gujarat police’s response to this was unknown.
On 2 January 2003, 13 persons arrested earlier on the basis of Pathan’s confession were released as per the orders of a local court. The Gujarat police challenged this order but the Gujarat High Court upheld their release as it held there was no way to verify the confession since Pathan was dead. The Supreme Court later upheld their release.
In 2003, the Gujarat CID (crime branch) police submitted an internal report questioning the ATS account of the execution; in 2005, this report was seconded by the Gujarat inspector-general (human rights and social justice) but no action was taken.
Pathan’s father now plans to move the Supreme court for an independent inquiry.
2. Sadiq Jamal Mehtar (20) DCB 3/03E;
IPC 120B, 121, 122,123, 307;
Arms Act 25A(1) (B)
10 January 2003;
0400 hrs;
Galaxy cinema, Naroda, Ahmedabad
Resident of Jashonath Chowk, Bhavnagar, Gujarat.
Shot dead. Police claimed he opened fire at them and they fired in self-defence. Police claimed he was working for Dawood Ibrahim, Chota Shakeel, the LET and Pakistan’s Inter-services intelligence agency (ISI) and was conspiring to kill Narendra Modi, former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and Viswa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia. Police claimed they received a tip-off from central intelligence agencies.
Later that year, a private complaint was filed by Mumbai-based Kiran Tirodkar before a city special court that he had met Sadiq as a domestic help in Dubai who had lost his family members and his house in the 2002 Gujarat communal violence. It claimed that, on Sadiq’s return to India, a Mumbai police officer handed him over to the Gujarat police to facilitate the extrajudicial execution.
3. Ganesh Khunte 4. Mahendra Chandrakant Jadhav DCB 8/03;
IPC 120B, 121, 121 A 122, 123, 307;
Arms act 25(1)(B)(a)
23 June 2003;
0230 hrs;
Gandhi Road, Panch Kuva, Kappad Bazar, Ahmedabad
Both residents of Mumbai city, Maharashtra.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that the two opened fire at them and they fired in self-defence.
Police claimed they were working for Dawood Ibrahim, Chota Shakeel and the ISI and were conspiring to kill Gujarat law minister Ashok Bhatt and a BJP legislator, Bharat Bhanot.
 
5. Israr Shaikh alias Pahelwan   2003-2004
Ahmedabad
Police claimed that he was wanted in several cases.
Shot dead.
 
6. Zeeshan Johar alias Janbaaz alias Abdul Ghani.
7. Amjad Ali Akbar Rana alias Salim alias Chandru alias Raju alias Rajkumar
8. Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai
9. Ishrat Jahan Raza (female, 19)
DCB 8/04
IPC 120B, 121, 121A 122, 123, 307
Arms act 25(1) (B)(a), 27, 29;
POTA 3(3), 20,21, etc,
16 June 2004;
0430 hrs;
Lotarpur Waterworks, Naroda, Ahmedahad
Police claimed that Zeeshan was a resident of Gujaranwala district and Amjad, a resident of Sargoda district, (both Punjab, Pakistan).
Javed was a resident of Goregaon, Pune city, Maharashtra.
Ishrat was a student from Mumbra near Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Shot dead after a car chase..
Police claimed that they fired in self-defence at the car from which firing was done.
Police claimed that they were working for the LET and conspiring to kill Narendra Modi and were trying to enter Gujarat with the help of banned terrorist organisations.
The killings of Ishrat and Javed created a controversy in their home states of Maharashtra and Kerala where police said they had no criminal records or links with terrorist activities.
On 18 June 2004, the NHRC had sought a report, within six weeks, from the Gujarat police whether its guidelines on investigating such incidents, enunciated in letters dated 29 March 1997 and 2 December 2003 to chief ministers, were being followed. The Gujarat police’s response to this was unknown.
Following the findings of the investigation into the execution of Sohrabuddin, Ishrat’s mother in Maharashtra and Javed’s father in Kerala are planning to file petitions seeking independent inquiries into their killings.
10. Sohrabuddin Shaikh
11. Kausar Bi, wife of Sohrabuddin.
  26-28 November 2005; Ahmedabad and Ilol. Both residents of Jharnaya, Madhya Pradesh.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that Soharabuddin
Shaikh, who was facing a number of criminal charges, was an agent of the
LET and that he was conspiring to kill top political leaders in Gujarat including Narendra Modi. Kausar Bi went missing.
The Government of Gujarat has admitted, before India’s Supreme Court, that, on the early morning of
23 November 2005, the ATS officers had abducted the two, along with Prajapati, killed Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Kausar Bi from a bus travelling from Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh to Sangli in Maharashtra; they later killed Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Kausar Bi and burnt her body.
This admission came after an investigation done by an officer of the Gujarat state police crime branch, as per the orders of the Supreme Court on a petition filed by the victim’s brother, Rubabuddin Shaikh who is fighting a legal battle.
Following the investigation so far, six police officers — including three senior officers D. G. Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandyan, M. N. Dinesh Kumar — have been arrested.
12-15.
Four youths
  17 March 2006;
0330 hrs;
Vinzol, Ahmedabad
Police claimed that at least three of the four were Pakistani nationals including Azaan, a commander of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, an armed organisation in Kashmir, and Mohammed Ayub Bhatt, another member of the same organisation. The third person was Mudasser alias Javed Ahmad Dar and the fourth remains unidentified.
Shot dead during a raid when the four fired on the police. Police fired in self-defence.
Police claimed they were working for Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and working to recruit youth, bomb places of worship and kill key political leaders.
 
16. Tulsiram Gangaram Prajapati   28 December 2006
Banaskantha district.
Resident of Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was a member of the Sharif Pathan gang and that he tried to escape while being taken in a train from Ahmedabad to Udaipur in Rajasthan.
See Sohrabuddin Shaikh-Kausar Bi killings (No. 10 and 11). Ongoing investigations have revealed that Prajapati was abducted along with them on 23 November 2005. He was killed on 28 December 2006 even as the investigations were going on.

APPENDIX B
LIST OF OTHER REPORTED UNLAWFUL KILLINGS IN GUJARAT 2002-2006

Names etc., Case details Date, time and place Details of execution Follow-up details
1. Anil Bain Mishra Behari Pandesara
GR 34/03;
IPC 307;
Arms act 25;
BP act 135
11 March 2003;
1830 hrs;
Surat
Resident of Pandesara, Surat, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed he assaulted them while they were trying to recovering arms and they fired in self-defence.
 
2. Jalabhai Popat Bhai Devi Poojak (24) BDV 40/04
IPC 307, 332, 337, 188.
17 January 2004;
1730 hrs
Lavaji Crematorium, Chowraya Beat,
Rajkot
Resident of Kubli Yapas, Rajkot, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was wanted for criminal charges and that he attacked them with stones and knife and caused injuries in the course of a body search when they fired in self-defence..
 
3. Mahesh Dipak Garwali. Umra 36/04; IPC 307;
Arms act 25
21 January 2004;
0100 hrs;
Farm near City line Road, Surat
Resident of Garwali Chowki, Uttaranchal.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he snatched a revolver from the police when they were trying to nab other wanted persons and that the police fired in self-defence.
 
4. Mitho Umar Dafer (35) Vasad 35/04
IPC 395,397, 332,333;
BP Act 135
14 March 2004;
0230 hrs;
Sundar Railway Phatak, Anand
Resident of Padana, Dhanduka taluk, Ahmedabad district, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was facing several criminal charges and that he attacked a police officer while being chased after looting a truck as part of a group. Police fired in self-defence.
 
5. Dinesh Navubha Jadeja alias Bako Bhachau police station
IPC 307
15 April 2004 Bhachau police station, Kutch Resident of Bhachau, Gujarat.
Shot dead in the police station.
Police claimed that Bako came to the police station to meet his friend Devo who had been arrested under the Goondas Act the previous day and demanded his release. Police claimed Bako tried to snatch the service revolver of a police officer. Police fired in self-defence.
The victim’s brother Mahendrasinh Jadeja, filed several petitions. In 2005, the Gujarat government ordered a CID inquiry into the case. Following the investigation, on 2 May 2007, a Gandhidham court convicted police officer Manjitbhai Dabhi and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
6. Salem Gagjibhai Miyana (23) BDV 180/04; IPC 307, 332, 337, 186, 504; 4 May 2004; 1230 hrs;
GH Board III Floor, Rajkot
Resident of G H Board, Rajkot, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was facing several charges of bootlegging and that he attacked them with an iron rod injuring the right hand of the policeman searching his residence when they fired in self-defence.
 
7. Subhash Bhaskar Naik Vyara 94/04 IPC 307, 392, 332, 353;
Arms act 25, 27
4 June 2004;
0620 hrs;
Barekhadi Patiya,
Surat
Resident of Kallu, Pathanapuram, Kollam district, Kerala.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was facing several criminal cases and that he snatched a revolver and fired at the police while being taken from Surat to Nawapur. Police fired in self-defence.
 
8. Kashyap Harpal Singh Dhaka (22) Kareli Bagh 227/04;
IPC 307, 224; Arms Act 25, 27
14 August 2004;
1815 hrs;
Harni village, Motnat Mahadevwala Road Canal,
Vadodara
Resident of Dhakeli Taluk, Khedka, Baghpat district, Uttar Pradesh.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was wanted in several criminal cases and that he tried to scare police using a dummy revolver. Police fired in self-defence.
 
9. Sanjay alias Sanju alias Rahul Sharad Prasad Chowdhry PS Umargam 336/04
IPC 307, 332 Arms act 25, 27
26 November 2004
0610 hrs RK Farm Nursery, Ketli village, Bilan Sanjan Road, Valsad district.
Resident of Bilad, Umargam taluk, Valsad district, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was facing several criminal charges; when police was taking him from Valsad to Umargam, he snatched the commando carbine and fired at the police,. Police fired in self-defence.
 
10. Mer Bhima Manda Adhedara (37) Sheel 77/04
IPC 307, 506(2)
Arms Act 25
29 December 2004;
0935 hrs;
Miti village. Junagarh district.
Resident of Miti village, Junagarh district, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was facing several charges and that they had taken him to a field to recover his hidden pistol and he suddenly used another hidden pistol to fire at them injuring a policeman. Police fired in self-defence.
 
11. Rajeshwar alias Mintu   9 April 2005; 0230 hrs;
Dedarda village, Anand
Resident of Patna, Bihar.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was wanted in several criminal cases and that when they went to arrest him, he snatched a policeman’s revolver and ended up pressing the trigger twice resulting in death.
 
12. Rafish alias Bapudi Mohammed Shah Faquir Jethpur 124/05.
IPC 307, 397, 333, 353, 188, 189;
Arms act 25(1)A, 27; Damage to property act 3, 7
18 July 2005; 2125 hrs;
Marketing yard; Jethpur.
Resident of Dharagarh,
Jamnagar district, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that when they took him to recover a revolver, he
snatched policeman’s revolver and
fired at them injuring a policeman. Police fired at him in self-defence.
 
13. Dongaria Himla Machar IPC 307
BP Act 135
25 August 2005; Maraigaon, Valsad district. Resident of Madhya Pradesh.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he attacked them with a dagger when they had gone to arrest him. Police fired in self defence.
 
14. Haji Haji Ismail Suzania Umargam 244/05
IPC 307
Arms Act 25, 27
9 October 2005; Nandigram Resident of Salaya Taluk, Jamnagar district, Gujarat.
Police claimed that he was wanted in several criminal cases and that when they went to arrest him, he fired at them. Police fired in self-defence.
 
15. Joginder Singh Khattan Singh Sikh. Valsad City 11/06
IPC 307
Arms act 25, 27
2006
Nanak Wada village School Compound District Valsad
Resident of Billimoria Devsar Sikh camp, Valsad, Gujarat
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was wanted in several criminal cases. When they went to arrest him, he tried to escape but his motorcycle slipped. Police claimed that he attacked them with a dagger and a country-made gun. Police fired in self-defence.
 

********

 

(1) Reply to Question No. 16840, Details of encounters with police in the state 2003-2006, from the Proceedings of the Gujarat assembly, cited in Writ Petition (Criminal) 31 of 2007, B. G. Verghese vs. Union of India, State of Gujarat and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

 

(2) Those killed included persons hailing from the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Kerala. The age of those killed wherever one finds a mention, was between 19 and 38.

 

(3) Those killed included persons hailing from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala

 

(4) See Amnesty International Report, India: Abuse of the law in Gujarat — Muslims detained illegally in Ahmedabad, AI Index 20/029/2003, 6 November 2003). Hundreds of persons, almost all of them Muslims, suspected of involvement in a range of alleged conspiracies against the state, had been detained. Those who faced incommunicado detention had to endure torture or degrading treatment at Gaekwad Haveli and other places in Ahmedabad. Those formally arrested numbered 240, including 239 Muslims, and the various human rights violations against them were facilitated by provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA) under which they were charged. Many of them had spent long periods in illegal detention prior to their formal arrest. This widespread use of illegal detention and discriminatory use of POTA against members of the Muslim minority was reported to have intimidated the Muslim community who were too scared to make official complaints. The condition was such that only a handful of habeas corpus petitions were filed on behalf of those illegally detained, because of the overwhelming fear of retribution amongst relatives and even lawyers. Also, there was persistent harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders working with members of the Muslim community in the state. For example, see Amnesty International’s Urgent Action update, Fear for the safety of Teesta Setalvad, Rais Khan Azeezkhan Pathan, Suhel Tirmizi and other human rights defenders in Gujarat state, AI Index: ASA 20/024/2003, 2 September 2003).

 

(5) See http://nhrc.nic.in/ for Letter dated 29 March 1997 from NHRC chairperson Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah to chief ministers regarding the procedure to be followed in cases of deaths in police encounters and Letter dated 3 December 2003 from NHRC chairperson Justce A. S. Anand on Revised guidelines/procedures to be followed in deaths occurring in police encounters.

 

(6) Courts in India have repeatedly held that the right to life guaranteed by the Article 21 is inviolable. See Challa Ramkonda Reddy vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, All India Reporter, 1989 AP 235 and All India Reporter 2000 SC 2083.

 

(7) Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 31, “Nature of the legal obligation on States Parties to the Covenant” para.15.

 

(8) Under the Principles, the inquiries should seek to determine the cause, manner and time of death, the person(s) responsible, and any pattern or practice which may have brought about the deaths. They should include an adequate autopsy, collection and analysis of all physical and documentary evidence and statements from witnesses.

 

In accordance with Principle 17 written reports shall be made within a reasonable time on the methods and findings of each inquiry. These shall be made public immediately and shall include the scope of the inquiry, procedures and methods used to evaluate evidence as well as conclusions and recommendations based on findings of fact and on applicable law. The reports shall describe in detail specific events that were found to have occurred, and the evidence on which such findings were based.

 

(9) The NHRC guidelines states that the ”question of granting of compensation to the dependents of the deceased would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case”.

July 26, 2008

Punjab Human Rights Committee’s Report On Cold Blooded Murder of a Muslim Youth

Posted in Encounter, Human Rights at 10:31 am by zarb

Punjab Human Rights Committee’s Report On Cold Blooded Murder of a Muslim Youth

The Milli Gazette Online

23 October 2006

Punjab Human Rights Committee’s Report on Cold Blooded Murder of a Muslim Youth on 20-21st night of September 2006.

Even after the end of terrorism in Punjab, functioning of some senior officers of Punjab police still remains the same without any accountability and responsibility.

On the information of murder of a youth in Giana village about 40km from Bhatinda on the night between
20-21.9.06 by the Special Task Force police men (STF), The Punjab Human Rights Committee (PHRC) formed a three member panel to investigate this cold blooded murder.

The panel comprised of Punjab Human Rights Committee General Secretary Ved Parkash Gupta, Mr. Balwinder. S. Bhullar social worker and Mr. Sukhjit Singh (Neena).

The panel visited villages Giana, Kanakwal and townships Rama Mandi and Talwandi Saboo in Bhatinda district and interviewed and interacted with common people and the police officers in this connection. The panel heard the eye witness account of Jagsir Singh one of the occupants of the truck who was fortunate enough to escape death at the hands of STF men. The panel also met the first man who saw the blood covered body of the youth lying in a truck and had reported to the police at Rama Mandi. He told the panel that the villagers heard indiscriminate firing which started between Kanakwal and Giana.

PHRC panel’s findings are as under:

According to the findings of the PHRC panel four persons including the driver of the truck were coming from Bhagu village in Haryana. They were bringing a bull in the truck. At Kanakwal village the personal of the Special Task Force (STF) signaled them to stop. According to the facts collected by the panel, this STF is nothing but a group of about one dozen loyal and trusted policemen formed by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ferozepur range. This STF is personally controlled and run by the IGP. The STF is not answerable to any one but the IGP only. This force has been working in all the six districts of Ferozepur range independently without any connection, cooperation or coordination with the Senior Superintends of Police (SSPs) of these districts. The working of this STF is very dubious. A few instances when this force directly interfered in the working of the district police have come to the notice of the panel.

The driver of the truck panicked and did not stop and tried to flee as they had stolen a bull from somewhere in Haryana. The STF men chased them in their own vehicle toward village Giana. The STF started unprovoked indiscriminate firing on the truck. This indiscriminate firing was heard by the villagers and the fact substantiated by a panchayat member Raj Singh. The truck driver did not stop even then. The STF police tried to overtake the truck but their vehicle grazed with the truck, which infuriated the policemen. Then they fired at the tyre of the truck and punctured it. Even after the puncture of the tyre the truck covered some distance from village Giana. Ultimately the truck got stuck in the Kutcha road and stopped. The STF men pounced upon the truck one of the constables gave a lathi blow on the glass panel of the driver’s seat and shattered it. Then they pulled out the driver and tied his hands behind his back. They gave him a sound beating.

When the STF men inspected the truck they found the blood covered dead body of one of the four occupants of the truck. They panicked and tried to put the blame of the murder of the youth upon them in vain. After some deliberations the STF men released the tied driver and left the place in their vehicle leaving the truck with the dead body of the youth there.

A panchayat member of village Giana S. Raj Singh dared to find out the cause of so much firing in the early hours that night. In the morning he saw the truck and found the blood covered body of the youth. He immediately informed the Rama Mandi police as well as DSP Talwandi Saboo about the incident. The Rama Police took the truck as well as the dead body of the youth in its custody.

Jagsir Singh one of the four occupants of the truck who was released by the STF men informed the relatives of Namim Khan at Muzaffarpur in Utter Pradesh on phone. Namim Khan was a Muslim youth in his twenties who was shot dead by STF firing. About one dozen near and dear ones of the youth Namim Khan reached Bhatinda on 22nd evening along with Jagsir Singh who escaped death at the hands of STF men. Jagsir Singh narrated the whole story to the press men as well as to the PHRC panel in detail. He also told that the STF men have snatched his mobile set no. 9814876110 also.

The panel also met the SHO Rama police station, also inspected the bullet ridden body of the truck number GLIG 4100 there. The right side of the rear of the truck was still covered with blood. The blood of the victim trickled down covering even the number plate of the truck. The panel also talked to Mr. Gurmit Singh DSP Talwandi Saboo in whose area the village Giana falls.

The police got the postmortem of the dead body and hurriedly cremated it without taking the trouble of identifying the dead person.

The panel interviewed SHO Rama Mandi and DSP Talwandi Saboo, the panel found both these officers hesitant to tell the whole truth behind the firing and the resultant death of a youth on the night of 20-21.9.06. Some police constables on condition of anonymity informed the panel that firing and the murder of the youth is the work of STF. The panel wanted to know some more in detail about the STF from here and there. Some other persons connected with the police department were also interviewed. The facts collected from all these persons about STF working by the team have already been mentioned.

The local police of Rama Mandi and Talwandi Saboo was not informed in advance by the STF about their movements in the area and setting up check post there. The panel noted that the STF men deliberately did not inform the local police there about the firing and the death of a youth in the early hours of 20-21 September
06. They must have thought that the case would be hushed up as nobody knew any thing at that time.

Mr. Varinder Kumar SSP Bhatinda ordered immediate probe into the incident. From the quick result of the investigation ending in the arrest of one Surjit Singh ASI Ferozepur and Lakhvir Singh head constable Bhatinda, it appears that Bhatinda police must be knowing about the activities of the so called STF men in the area. Surjit Singh ASI is the leader of STF and Lakhvir Singh as its trusted member. Both have been arrested under section 302 IPC.

It is to be noted here that Bhatinda is a developing area and is a good place for minting money. The IGP and DIG both have shifted their offices from their head quarters at Ferozepur and Faridkot respectively to Bhatinda city.

Panel has many questions to be asked and probed. Was working of STF in the knowledge of district authorities? Why other STF men not identified and arrested? What was the hurry to cremate the body of the youth without making efforts to find out his identity?

The Punjab Human Rights Committee after thorough investigation, interaction with villagers, eye witness account of Jagsir Singh and circumstantial evidences has concluded that STF men were responsible of murder of youth Namim Khan. PHRC panel has demanded a thorough investigation into the formation, control and activities of this STF and the arrest of other members who were present at the time of firing resulting in death of a youth near Giana.

The PHRC panel has apprehensions that the powerful and mighty officers may be successful in hushing up the case or pressurize the victims for a compromise and retract their statements given the press and the Panel.

Copies of this report are being sent to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Chief Justice Supreme Court of India, Chief Justice Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chairman National Human Rights Commission, CBI, CVC, Chairman Punjab State Human Rights Commission, Chief Minister of Punjab and Director General Police Punjab for thorough investigation to punish the guilty.

Report released by:
Ved Parkash Gupta.
Punjab Human Rights Committee,
5042, Afim Wali Gali, Bhatinda. Punjab.
Ph. 0164-2253903.
E-Mail – vitull@sancharnet.in
Members of the panel:
Mr. Ved Parkash Gupta,
General Secretary, Punjab Human Rights Committee.

Mr. Balwinder Singh Bhullar,
Social Worker

Mr. Sukhjit Singh (Neena),
Farmer

Released on 30.9.06

June 2, 2008

Fake encounter in Nagpur?

Posted in Encounter tagged , , , , , , , , at 5:28 pm by zarb

Constituent member organizations:
People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Nagpur
Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai
Dharma Nirapeksh Nagarik Manch, Nagpur
Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, Hyderabad
Indian Association of People’s Lawyers Bahujan Sangharsh Samiti

List of Members
Head of the Team, Justice B G Kolse Patil, Rtd Judge of Mumbai High Court, Convenor, Dr Suresh Khairnar,
Members Dr Anand Teltumde, CPDR, Mumbai; Adv. P Suresh Kumar, Andra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, Hyderabad; Mr Ahmed Latif Khan, Civil Liberty Monitoring Committee, Hyderabad; Dr D John Chelladurai, India Peace Centre, Nagpur; Mr Nagesh Choudhury, Bahujan Sangharsh Samiti, Nagpur; Mr Arvind Ghosh, PUCL, Nagpur; Adv. Anil Kale, Indian Assn of People’s Lawyers; Adv. Surendra Gadling, Indian Assn of People’s Lawyers; Mr Gaffar Shakir, Dharma Nirapeksha Nagarik Manch, Nagpur; Mr Ashish K Ghosh, PUCL, Nagpur; Mr Arvind Deshmukh, Bahujan Sangharsh Samiti, Nagpur; Mr T V Kathane, Nagpur, Bahujan Sangharsh Samiti,Nagpur; Adv. Anand Gajbhiye, IAPL, Nagpur

Introduction
The nation awoke on June 01, 2006 hearing the shocking news of an attempted attack on the RSS headquarters building. It was a respite that the news of police foiling the attempt too came along.

The news of attempted attack on the Head Quarters of the RSS reportedly by fidayeens of a Pak based terrorist group, sent a spine chilling fear in the minds of millions of peace loving people in the country. We all know very well, the potential of such a happening to ignite a trail of tragic clashes among the communities. The peace loving masses heaved a sigh of relief as the leaders of every community promptly condemned the heinous act and appealed to the masses to maintain peace, and peace did prevail. In the next twenty four hours quite a lot of information, almost all the information pertaining to the attackers had been published obviously supplied by the police department to the media.

The narrative of the whole encounter as reported on June 02, 2006, instead of clearing the mystery of the attackers, unfortunately confounded the citizens all the more. The reports were conflicting and left innumerable questions on ground zero situation unanswered.

The foiled attempt and the appreciable tranquility maintained by the masses were a great relief. However the deadly weapon and ammunition with which the ‘fidayeens’ (as told by the Commissioner of Police) appeared, and the ease with which the police claimed to have liquidated them, suggested that the Police team had a ‘cake walk’ over the deadly terrorists. The very next day a section of the media aired their doubt over the whole happening (as reported by the Police Commissioner), most of them quoting wide sections of the national community, including senior leaders.

The peace loving social activists and campaigners for communal harmony based in Nagpur were at first relieved by the success of the police over the terrorists. However the confounding report that appeared in the media and the doubts aired by masses and leaders prompted them to read between the lines. Particularly, the ‘Islamic’ terrorist attempting to attack RSS Head Quarters has a larger implication. It has the potential to push the nation into a communal strife. Scuh a thing should not be allowed to happen in any manner, orchestrated by any group. The confounding report of the ‘encounter’ therefore requires an honest study.

The above stated social organizations, hence constituted a fact finding team comprised of the above mentioned activists. The team is headed by Mr B G Kolse Patil, retired Judge of Mumbai High Court, and Convened by Dr Suresh Khairnar, a renowned social thinker and activist. The team visited the site of the encounter, spoke to the people residing in the vicinity. The team also visited the RSS Head Quarters and met Mr Shirish Wate, the HQ incharge.

The team went to Government Medical College to meet the doctors who carried out the postmortem. Dr Dhavane, who was present gave elementary information but declined to give details. The team spoke to Dr Vibhawari Dani, Dean, Govt Medical Hospital and College on telephone. The Dean also declined to reveal the postmortem report. It was a classified document, she said.

The team repeatedly sought an appointment with the Commissioner of Police. The CP too declined to meet the team. On the contrary the CP asked the respectable members their credentials; who funded the team, what international connections does the team have and similar questions with apparent intention to intimidate the team from their earnest effort to help the society to know the truth.

The Incident as reported by Mr S P S Yadav, the Commissioner of Police, Nagpur
The Special squad of the City police who were on high alert following specific input from intelligence agency spotted a white Ambassador car moving in a suspicious manner in Lakdi Pul in Mahal area and started tailing it. Two cars, a Tata Sumo and a Qualis were used in the operation. The tailing cars were unmarked and all police personal in it were wearing plain clothes.

When the ambassador car with red beacon atop moved towards RSS Head Quarters, one for the constables in the Tata Sumo casually asked the young occupants about their intentions. Rattled by the enquiry the militants opened fire on the police vehicle even as they tried to get away. In the process they dashed into the barricade near the eastern side of the RSS HQ. The alert cops led by PSI Rajendra Tiwari, PSI Arvind Saraf and PSI JA More replied to the Gunfire. It was their bulletproof jackets that saved police personnel. The terrorists also threw a hand grenade on the police party. But it failed to explode. They threw the grenade without pulling out the pin.

The gun battle lasted about 20 minutes in which the militants fired 76 rounds while the cops retaliated with 63 rounds. The terrorists had three AK-M automatic weapons, 12 hand grenades and 5.6 Kgs of highly explosive materials with them. They also had three spare magazines for their fire arms each carrying 30 rounds. They had hundred and twenty rounds each, said Mr S P S Yadav. Mr Yadav also reported to have said, looking at their preparation and determination to storm RSS HQ at any cost despite heavy police deployment, indicates that it was a ‘fidayeen’ attack.

Refusing to divulge the exact identity of the three militants, who were in the age group of 20-22 years, Mr Yadav described them as ‘Islamic militants.’ At this point of time, he added, it is too premature to associate them with any outfit.

Media reports
As per the details received from the police a white Ambassador car MH 20-8979 with a red beacon and three persons on board dressed as police sub-inspectors, was first spotted by the patrolling police party at the central avenue some time before the incident. The car was heading towards Badkas Chowk. As it emerged form Chitaroli, two police vehicles, a Tata Sumo carrying two PSI and five constables and a Toyoto Qualis with 5 PSI got suspicious about the car. The police vehicles hastened the chase of the suspicious ambassador car. At Badkas chowk the ambassador car took a left turn towards Junta chowk and again turned right towards the Sangh building from the Lakdipul side.

Presuming the car might have gone towards Ayachit mandir the police stopped the chase for a while. However when the police jeep came back to the same place during their routine patrol, they noticed the same car in a small alley between Lakdipul and Gajanan Mandir towards the eastern gate of the RSS Head Quarters. The Police vans then closed in on the ambassador car. However, without paying heed to the police patrol the car tried to force its way through the temporary barricade erected 50 meters before the main entrance of the RSS HQ. At this juncture the PSI Tiwari intercepted the ambassador car and enquired as to where it was heading. Instantly thereafter the two ultras who were seated on the rear seats came out of the car with a grenade in their left hand and AK56 rifle in the right hand. One of them lobbed the grenade at the police, but since the pin was not fully removed it failed to explode. Seeing this the ultras opened indiscriminate fire at the police party. In the melee PSI Saraf who just alighted from the police vehicle got hit at his abdomen. However, since he was wearing a bullet proof vest the bullet did not pierce his body. Soon after this police force and the ultras started exchanging fire in which two of the three militants were killed on the spot. The driver of the car then tried to flee towards the Bhauji Daftari School. However he could not escape the bullets from the police and he too was killed on the spot. The entire shoot out went on for just around 15 minutes between 4.00 and 4.15 AM.

The police then informed the control room and the commissioner of Police about the shoot out. The senior police officers immediately reached the spot and shifted at the three ultras to the government medical college where they were declared brought dead. The members of Dautkhani family along with other neighbours woke up at the sound of the firing and one of his family members opened the door of their house to peep outside.

However alert cops told the family members to shut the door and remain inside the house only. It was to prevent the terrorists from taking shelter in the Dautkani house and taking them as hostages. The operation was carried out by the city police successfully without any loss of life other than that of the militants. The press reported on the 2nd June that, all the three terrorists are said to be Pak nationals. Two of them hailed from Lahore and the third from Gujranwala. The police had seized from the place a dairy which contained email addresses in Urdu, a few phone numbers of Lohare and Gujranwala. Rs 45,000 and maps of the city were recovered from the terrorists.

The names of three terrorists are said to be Afsal Ahmed Bhat, Bilal Ahmed Bhat and Mohammed Usman Habib. Loksatta, (Indian Express Group) Nagpur Marathi edition, dated June 03 2006 carried an article containing the following detail. ‘Normally the attacks by the terrorists are preplanned meticulously and they seldom fail in their attempt. This being the public opinion, the recent futile attempt by the terrorists on RSS building and the success gained by the police in thwarting the attempt creates suspicion in public mind as well as among RSS people and their rivals.

Though normally terrorists claim the responsibility of the attack, no terrorist group has claimed any responsibility to this attempt. Therefore the question arises, whether they were hardcore Islamic terrorists or just any other newcomers. According to police statement, threat of attack on RSS head quarters loomed large for the last one year and there was security cordon around the building. Yet the attackers seemed to have no idea of any of them, neither did they seem to know the roads leading to RSS building. And no map of the building and its surrounding could be found with them.

During the whole encounter with the police the terrorists got only one chance to lob a grenade and that too did not explode. That not a single policeman was injured by the bullets of the attackers, puts a question mark on the ability of the terrorists. The attackers could bring a car load of guns and bullets, hand grenades, powerful explosives like RDX from places thousands of kilometers away without being detected or checked by any police or civic authorities, is a matter of surprise even in the RSS circles.

The RSS which usually take such attack on them seriously and go for nationwide protest, unusually kept extraordinary silence and the morning shaka at the headquarters went on with more people attending it. It was a surprise even among the cadres of RSS. This also has created among their functionaries doubt over the bona fide of the attackers. However, they speak in a low voice.

Mahanayak, a Marathi news paper from Mumbai, published a title page news from its special correspondent from Nagpur, with the caption: “Mahanayak’s Special Story on the Attack on RSS Head Quarters.” The news goes like this: There is a talk among the Nagpur police that, of the 11 police who conducted the encounter, 6 police did not even know how to handle a carbine. Some of them were under demotion on account of departmental disciplinary action, and they were given this ‘chance’ to prove their ‘worthiness.’ Sources close to the police circle say, none of the eleven cops had special commando training. The authorities punished two of them, for they extorted from a ‘gutka‘ merchant a huge amount (Rs 3.5 lakhs) five months ago, in the Panchpoli police station area. At the orders of the CP they were shifted to another ‘punishment’ section. Police inner circle is surprised at the composition of the squad for most of them do not know to handle guns properly.

The reporter gives details of many indisciplines of the eleven police personals and wonders how and on what basis they were selected for Special Squad to handle such an important assignment in the RSS HQ.

Observations of the fact team
1. When the police had prior information about possible attack on RSS Head Quarters and the police were prepared, as stated by the Commissioner of Police (CP), to handle possible attack, why did they allow the attackers to go close to the RSS HQ? Why did the Police not stop them at first sight?

2. We hear from the residents, that the police had a kind of rehearsal to the ‘encounter’ few days back on the same spot. Police even fired in the air on the occasion, they claim. And when the actual encounter took place, these residents said, they first thought that it was yet another demonstration. Why did the police take a demo a few days ago?

3. The CP has said, “when the ambassador car with red beacon atop moved towards RSS HQ, one of the constables in the Tata Sumo casually asked the young occupants about their intentions. Rattled by the inquiry the militants opened fire on the police vehicle even as they tried to get away.” For the constable to ask casually, either he must have brought his car (the police vehicle) side by side to the terrorist vehicle or he (the constable) must have come by foot close to terrorist vehicle (and asked them). In either case the constable must have been exposed to the terrorist attack at close quarter. How did the constable escape unhurt? The narration of the incident doesn’t have any detail to clarify this.

4. There is no eyewitness to the whole happening. The encounter took place according to the police at 4.15 AM. The bodies of the assailants were removed even before the press reporters (who were the first people other than the Police) reached the spot, close to 5.00 AM. Why this hurry?

5. Day one media report says, Deputy Commissioner Mr Prabhat Kumar was in the patrolling team and he smelled foul and started tailing it in their unmarked blue Tata Sumo. Why did the CP not bring him (Mr P Kumar) in his (CP) narration of the encounter? Why did CP hide the DCP?

6. Another report says that the patrolling police that tailed the ambassador at one point “presumed the car might have gone towards Ayachit mandir the police stopped the chase for a while. However when the police jeep came back to the same place during their routine patrol, they noticed the same car in a small alley between Lakdipul and Gajanand Mandir towards the eastern gate of the RSS Head Quarters. As the point where the police missed the ambassador car and the place where they saw them again are the same small alley, do the police mean to say that the attackers were waiting over there until then?

7. It is said that the attackers’ car tried to force its way through the barricade. The said barricade was installed a couple of weeks before June 01 2006, in the aftermath of weapon seizure from antisocial elements in the State. When the attackers came where were the sentries posted at the barricade? They must have been the first one to stop the terrorists or get attacked by the terrorists. Where were they?

8. The exchange of fire took place for twenty minutes, it was reported. Can anyone explain how the police disabled the terrorists from using the dozen hand grenades and the 360 rounds of bullets?

9. That the terrorists had 12 hand grenade, 360 rounds of bullets, 5.6 Kgs of highly explosive material which was later stated to be RDX, and they battled for twenty minutes ‘hopelessly’ not using any of them, is a narration that fails to convince common sense.

10. It was reported that the police recovered from the terrorists’ vehicle a sealed case containing 12 hand grenades. The terrorists coming on a deadly mission carrying their munitions in sealed cases does not comply the logic of terrorist attack. They did not even open them when they were fighting for 20 minutes in a losing battle makes the narration all the more unconvincing.

11. That the terrorists, reported to be ‘fidayeen’ who chose to travel on white ambassador car with red beacon atop, not knowing what is the official protocol but chose to wear PSI dress, does not comply with the statement of the CP that the terrorists were a trained fidayeens.

12. The reported information that the police recovered wet underwear and soaked bathing soap from the white ambassador car suggests that they could not have been ‘terrorists’ on a mission involving their very life.

13. The police declared them as ‘Islamic’ terrorist and Pak based ‘fidayeens’. The stated seizure of a diary containing all their names and their own telephone numbers sounds farce. Usually we do not write our own telephone numbers in our dairy. Terrorists of deadly mission carrying a dairy with their own identities when they were on an attack, do not appeal common sense.

14. Even if the police had found a dairy belonging to the attackers, how did they decipher the code names and codified messages in so short a time that in less than 10 hours the CP could reveal their identity as ‘Islamic’ terrorist and ‘fidayeens’? (the history of terrorist attack tells clearly that the terrorists do not carry written documents. If they have to write anything they choose to write in codes and false names.)

15. What authentication did the police possess to finally declare them as Muslims and bury them according to Islamic rituals? What was the hurry to bury the dead bodies of the terrorists without establishing their identity?

16. Few holes on the walls (opposite to Bharat Mahila Vidyalay) are, said by the CID official present at the site, as bullet marks. Two of the six marks found to be marks of bullets fired from right across, at 90 degrees. One bullet mark, as marked by the police on the Bharat Mahila Vidyalay wall too clearly indicates that the bullet was fired at 90 degrees. Were the police and their vehicle come side by side the terrorists? It was amusing, that the police officer present at the time of the team’s visit to the spot, told that bullets fired by the policemen down the lane from behind the terrorist vehicle possibly took an aerial curve and hit the wall at 90 degree.

17. There is hardly any mark of terrorist bullets on the other side, except on the Police vehicle.

18. The blue Tata Sumo vehicle that was tailing behind the terrorist vehicle had six bullet marks. Two of them were at least apparently pistol bullet marks. The police report did not mention terrorists having used pistols. How did pistol bullet marks appear on the police vehicle?

19. The terrorists were reported to have fired from AK-M automatic guns. The bullet marks on the blue Tata Sumo of the police bear bullet marks that are all single shot marks. There is no series of bullet marks (which is expected if the opponents were using automatic guns) that raises the doubt over nature of the exchange of fire.

20. One bullet hole was found (in the police blue Tata Sumo vehicle) on the right side front door from inside. The point of hit was almost at the hip of the driver. Had the driver been on his seat he should have been hit. There was no such report. It is clear that the driver was not in the seat at the time of firing. We found bullet marks on the same police vehicle hit from three angles on the left side of the vehicle. Three bullets were 45 degrees from behind, two bullets 90 degrees on the left and one bullet 130 degree further that hit just below the front windshield. The question is, if the vehicle is not on the move during the attack, (as the bullet did not hit the driver), then how did the bullet mark appear from three angles? This question assumes significance as it was not possible for the terrorists to move to such wide range and fire from all three angles, for they were caught in their vehicle that was trapped in a narrow alley and they were immobilized.

21. Mr S P S Yadav, Commissioner of Police is reported to have said, “Looking at their preparation and determination to storm RSS HQ at any cost despite heavy police deployment, indicates that it was a ‘fidayeen’ attack.” This conclusion of the CP amounts to be hasty in his decision; or the terrorists were in his hands prior to the encounter, for him to know about them in detail.

22. On the site of the encounter was parked a white Maruti Omni car at the premises of Mr Jopat, the compound wall being fenced by barbed wire. As the house is the first one in the lane (in front of which raised the barricade) and the attackers were inside the lane, if the police wanted to target the attackers, they should have gone some where behind this Maruti Omni car. When there was over 140 rounds of fire, there is not a single bullet mark on the vehicle.

This creates strong doubts over the nature of reported encounter.

Recommendations
The official version of events raises scores of doubts. The team wanted simple clarifications from the Commissioner of Police, Nagpur and approached him continuously for five days. That the CP persistently declined to meet the team and answer these simple queries, reveal his unwillingness / inability to face these fair queries.

It also suggests that he chose to hide certain facts. And this lead the team to question the veracity of the Commissioner of Police’s narration of the encounter. The Cock and Bull story of the encounter thus compels the team to infer that the encounter appears to be fake and requires, in the interest of the nation, a fair probing.

The team therefore, calls upon the Central government to appoint a judicial enquiry committee headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court and probe the whole episode.