Despite court verdict in 2008 Batla House encounter case, the controversies seem to be denying to die down. Some political leaders continue to put the Delhi Police in dock. They are trying to be well-wishers of a particular community for political gain. This is the reason, a section of Muslim community is reluctant to accept that Batla House encounter was genuine. Some politicians have sown the seeds of suspicion in the minds of Muslim community. Surprisingly, majority of them are Congress leaders. Coincidently, it has been happening at a time when the Congress is leading the UPA government at the Centre. In the Batla House encounter, the Delhi Police had gunned down two terrorists and lost a decorated inspector. Initially, nobody doubted the genuineness of the encounter. However, when the political leaders began visiting the spot, the questions started to be raised over the encounter. 

In order to woo Muslim voters, some leaders jumped to the conclusion that the encounter was fake. Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh was spearheading the onslaught against the police action. Despite the court verdict in the case, Digvijay Singh remains firm on his earlier stand and is pitching for judicial probe into the encounter. In an election rally at Azamgarh, another senior Congress leader and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid went on saying that party president Sonia Gandhi had tears in her eyes after seeing the pictures of Batla House encounter.

Naturally, a sense of alienation was instilled in the minds of Muslims after the senior leaders of the country raised their voice against the police action. Probably, this was the reason the countrymen were eagerly waiting for the court verdict whether the encounter was genuine or not. After weighing all the available evidences, the court not only termed the encounter as genuine but also convicted Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Shahzad Ahmad for killing Delhi Police inspector Mohan Chandra Sharma. Despite the court’s ruling, the people hailing from Batla House area and Shahzad’s village remained discontented with the verdict. Even politicians are to be blamed for the youths of Muslim community getting involved the acts of terror. Moreover, Union Minister for Minority Affairs K Rahman Khan is saying that the Muslim community believes that no organization by the name of IM exists. Such attitude of the political leaders is the main reason behind the polarization of society and increasing conflict among the various communities. Ironically, they say that terrorism has no religion but they leave no stone unturned to link every terror act with religion for their political gains. As the seeds of suspicion have already been sown in the minds of the people of Muslim community, all the people have started to view the operations by police and security forces through a prism of suspicion.  

It’s true that some police officers have been involved in fake encounters in some other cases which need to be investigated. But it doesn’t mean that the politicians try to polarize society in the name of fake encounters. No law in the country provides right to the police to kill suspected criminals but at the same time it’s a fact that on several occasions, the police have to resort to force. One of the reasons is that our judicial system takes years to prove the criminals guilty. The genuine questions must be raised on the unlawful police action, but spreading misinformation for gaining political mileage certainly boosts morale of the perpetrators.

On the line of Batla House encounter, Ishrat Jahan case is also grabbing the headlines. As the suspected terrorist belongs to Muslim community, the secularism and communalism are being hotly debated on the basis of police action. This is surely dampening the morale of police forces. It’s not a good sign for the country facing serious terror threat. Jammu and Kashmir and northeastern states continue to face unrest, while terror outfits like IM have spread its net across the country. It has been proved that Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and several terrorist organizations including Lashkar-e-Taiba have been sponsoring the IM. In this contest, if the police and security personnel are not given free hand in fighting terrorism or question are raised on their action, it will be difficult for them to eliminate it from the country.

The terrorism is not less than the waging war against a country and it should be fought courageously but it doesn’t mean that the police and security personnel should be allowed to have monopoly. Similarly, every action of police and security forces must not be viewed as suspicious. Unfortunately, questioning every police action to get political mileage has become a fashion in the country. In the Batla House encounter case, the court not only stamped the genuineness of the police action but also proved that some section of the society tried to sow the seeds of suspicion in the minds of a particular community and polarize the society for sheer vested interests. Those, who tried to do so or are striving for, should keep in mind that they are committing serious offences to divide the country. In order to put a check on the terrorism, not only stern legal provisions is required to be made against the people involved in it but at the same time it is also required to restrain those who make political statements on the cases of terrorism and mislead the society and hinder the functioning of the police forces. Such political leaders must be restrained from putting the country at risk.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on July 28, 2013 translated by the English editorial. The author is the Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)