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Remembering Batla House Killings : Resist Islamophobia Rise In Dissent

Remembering Sajid and Atif Ameen is a political act to recall the state violence and collective failure to bring forth the truth behind the murder.

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On 19th September 2008, the Delhi police Special Cell conducted an armed operation, in which two residents of Batla House- one of them was a student of Jamia Millia Islamia- were gunned down. Three casualties happened including the Police Inspector M.C Sharma, Atif Ameen and Sajid- who was a legal minor. Interestingly, this encounter turned to be the political tug-of-war for both the Congress party and BJP. Questions around the murder of Atif, Sajid and Sharma in batla house still remain unanswered.

Few of important questions are:

  • Why no code of procedure, such as informing local police station was followed? Why the police officers were not wearing bulletproof jackets?
  • How do people receive injuries only in the back and head region in a ‘genuine cross-fire’?
  • The postmortem report of Atif strongly suggests that he was held down by force while bullets were pumped down to his forehead, back and forth. Why the police resorted to beating them in a ‘genuine encounter’?
  • Why no weapon was ever recovered?
  • Why there were no matching figure-prints of the accused found from the spot?

After the incident, NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) came up with a report merely based on the fabricated narratives of the Delhi police. Even after a decade, the bloodstains of sajid, Atif Ameen and inspector MC sharma in the streets of Batla House, raise thousand questions of justice and truth. 19th September will be written down in the history of the Indian state,  as this day reiterates the violence carried on Muslim bodies in the capital city of the country. In the post-independent India, Muslim body is seen always as a subject of fear and constant violence. The State as well as the right wing competed to prove their courage in creating a Muslim ‘other’ and communal violence. The series of communal riots organized throughout the country after partition made the community most vulnerable to the right wing Hindutwa forces. The demolition of Babri masjid after a vehement campaign by the RSS and their outfits was the triumph of the otherisation of Muslim community.

It is well-known fact the Islamophobia is systematically constructed and disseminated global level since the 9/11 incident. Reincarnation of Global terror propaganda and subsequent systematic construction of Islamophobia in India mostly relied upon Batla incident. Batla House Encounter was used as an answer to several chilling incident of serial blasts and killing of innocent civilians of the country. At the same time, it also repeatedly used to justify the demonisation of thousands of innocent Muslim youths, their long imprisonment without trial as well as to demonise Muslim dominated spaces of the country like  Azamgrah and Batla, even to destroy the reputation of well-known minority  university Jamia Millia Islamia. It has rendered now as a discourse from media houses to metro announcements, to the extend of offering special course on ‘Islamic terror’ in so called progressive institutions of the country. the people in power propagating Islamophobia regardless of secular and non-secular binaries without much dissent and questions.

At this point of time, the Congress party claims to be the guardian of minorities and Muslim community. Remembering Sajid and Atif Ameen is a political act to recall the state violence and collective failure to bring forth the truth behind the murder. We consider it as a collective failure of secular forces in raising the Batla House issue as a question of attack on the Muslim community. We believe that Batla house encounter is not a single state attack happened upon a spontaneous reaction, rather it is one of the many state violences like police killing, fake encounters, imprisonment of Muslim youth on fabricated cases and so on. The secular hegemony miserably fails to understand the Muslim question as the most important concern in the time of fascism. This case of fake encounter went in to legal black hole of world’s largest democratic country and remains under trashes of legalism.

Both then governments, at NCT Delhi and UPA at centre, have shown extremely callous attitude towards the demand for an independent judicial probe. While the state stresses on the need to deal with the alienation of Muslim youth, the denial to set up a magisterial inquiry into the encounter raises serious questions about government’s seriousness as a protector of rights and justice.

(This is a pamphlet circulated by SIO unit in Jamia Millia Islamia)

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