Order SC-Monitored Judicial Enquiry Into Bhopal ‘Encounter’; Stop the Politics of Communal-Profiling and Witch-hunt

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1st November, Today, 2.30 pm at Jantar Mantar

AISA expresses shock and condemnation at the brutal killing of 8 undertrials near Bhopal by Madhya Pradesh police. Video footage of the incident that has emerged strongly suggests that the ‘encounter’ was staged. The footage shows unarmed men waving their bare hands; it shows no firearms on or near the bodies of the 8 men; it shows police shooting at men lying on the ground inert and prone. The initial statements of the Madhya Pradesh Home Minister admitted that the 8 men were armed with nothing but sharpened spoons, while the police later claimed that the 8 men had firearms and had fired at the police. These mutually contradictory statements also add to conviction that the killing was a fake encounter.

The alleged escape of the 8 undertrials from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail after killing a policeman also call for an enquiry. Is it really possible for undertrials to escape from a high-security prison with crude tools, killing a policeman without being caught on surveillance cameras? Even if the undertrials did indeed kill a policeman and flee prison, the MP police’s duty was to secure them alive, not execute them in cold blood.

The 8 men were allegedly members of SIMI – a banned organization – charged with various terror crimes. They were yet to be convicted, however. The Supreme Court has held that mere membership of a banned organization is no crime. We have seen time and again how men charged with terror crimes have been proven innocent and acquitted, with Courts commenting on the police foisting false cases on innocent men.

These 8 men cannot be declared ‘terrorists’ without being established in the court of law. If these 8 men were indeed ‘terrorists’ as is being alleged, then their crimes should have been proven in Court so that they could be duly punished. Extra-judicial killings of alleged ‘terrorists’ absolves the state from establishing their ‘guilt’ while giving the state and its pliant media machinery a free hand to proclaim that ‘terrorists’ have been killed, strengthening a larger narrative of communal profiling.  Are we once again seeing a replay of the Gujarat model of ‘encounters’?

AISA demands an impartial, time-bound judicial probe monitored by the Supreme Court, to investigate the facts of the alleged jail break as well as the killing of the 8 men.

        Vijay, VP, AISA, JNU                                                                                                     Balaji, Gen Secy, AISA, JNU

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