Shafiq R Khan


Batla House encounter : Whoz guilty

Batla House encounter victims Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid were hit by ‘blunt force impact by object or surface’, besides multiple gunshot wounds. The post-mortem report, a copy of which is with, has confirmed this. The family members and relatives of the two terror suspects of Azamgarh, who gave them last bath, had claimed the bodies had multiple injuries of brutal beating. The million dollar question: why the police had to resort to beating of the suspects during a ‘genuine’ encounter.

Whether Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid were involved in terror activities only the court can decide. But genuineness of the September 2008 Batla House encounter in which the two Azamgarh youths were killed has been contested since the day one on various counts. The injury marks other than the gunshot wounds on their bodies were presented by the families and several independent fact finding teams and human rights activists as strong proof that the encounter was fake and the duo were killed pointblank.

This is the first time since the encounter that the post-mortem report has come into public, thanks to tireless efforts of RTI activist Afroz Alam Sahil, a Jamia Millia Islamia student. To get this post-mortem report he knocked at every suitable door – Delhi police, AIIMS, Central Information Commission and National Human Rights Commission, but was shunted out on one ground or the other. Ultimately today he received the report from NHRC.

The four-page post-mortem report of Atif Amen says the cause of death was “shock and haemorrhage as a result of multiple injuries as described. All the injuries are produced by firearm ammunition except injury no 7 which is produced by blunt force impact by object or surface.”

In total the 24-year-old had 21 injuries on his body and all the injuries were “antemortem in nature,” says the report. Of 21, the number of gunshot wounds was 16.

Describing the injury no 7, the report says it was “reddish brown abrasion of 1.5x1 cm over outer and interior aspect of right knee cap.”

Similarly, Mohd Sajid, who had five bullet holes on the upper side of the head, was also beaten with blunt object.

His four-page post-mortem report mentions the cause of death was “craniocerebral damage as a result of gunshot injuries to head.”

Sajid had 14 injuries on his body. “Injury no. 1-12 are produced by firearm ammunition while injury no 13 and 14 are produced by blunt force impact on surface or by object,” confirms the report adding all the injuries were antemortem in nature.

Describing injury no. 13 the report says it was “4x2 cm abrasion, red in colour over back of chest in midline” and injury no. 14 was “laceration of size 3.5x2cm horizontally over front of right leg in the middle.”

Of 14, he had 11 gunshot wounds.

The two-page report of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma who sustained bullet injuries during the shootout mentions the cause of death as “haemorrhagic shock due to firearm injury to abdomen.”

While mentioning antemortem injuries on Inspector Sharma, the report prominently says the entry wound on left shoulder and left upper arm was explored and debrided. Similarly, the exit wound on left arm and 10 cm below left shoulder top and 8 cm above left elbow joint was also explored and debrided. The post mortem report also says that it is alleged the deceased sustained injuries during cross firing in a police encounter in Jamia Nagar on 19/09/2008, he was taken to Holy Family hospital where he died the same day at 7 pm.

Shame on NHRC

New Delhi: The post-mortem reports of Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid, the Azamgarh youths killed in the September 2008 Batla House encounter, has exposed the impartiality of the National Human Rights Commission and the Delhi Police, said Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association in a thorough analysis of the post-mortem reports and demanded immediate institution of judicial probe into the encounter.

Post-mortem reports expose NHRC enquiry

The NHRC has released the documents which formed the basis of its conclusion that the Batla House ‘encounter’ was genuine. The post mortem reports of the slain young men, Atif Ameen and Md. Sajid, as well as Inspector Sharma have been made public for the first time. Thus far, the Delhi Police and AIIMS (which conducted the post mortem) have declined to provide information citing 8 (1) b and 8 (1) h of the RTI Act. Section 8(1) b of the Right To Information Act–2005 states that information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court cannot be provided to a RTI petitioner. Section 8(1) h states that information cannot be provided about matters which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of the offenders. It should be noted that when the RTI was filed the first time by RTI activist and Jamia student Afroze Alam Sahil, a few days after the ‘encounter’, there was no direction from the court that such information be withheld. Indeed, frustrated by the Police’s refusal to part with the post mortem report, the Central Information Commission directed the Delhi Police to submit all documents pertaining to the Batla House Encounter before it by March 5, 2009 for inspection by the bench" so that it could examine whether the information could be made public. The Delhi Police instead rushed to the High Court, challenging this directive, feigning that such information would be detrimental to investigations. The High Court stayed the CIC directive on 1st April 2009.

Meanwhile, the NHRC in its ‘enquiry’, extensively cited the postmortem report of Inspector Sharma to prove that he had been fired upon by alleged terrorists. While wounds suffered by the slain police officer were provided with great detail such as the places in the body where bullet injuries were found, their impact, ‘entry and exit points’ etc. Even the injury suffered in the arm by injured Constable Balwant Singh carried all this information but the same treatment is curiously absent in the case of Atif and Sajid, the slain ‘terrorists’. This is surely intriguing because the post mortem report mentions quite clearly that:

Analysis of post-mortem reports

1) Atif Ameen sustained injuries on right knee cap (injury number 7); grazing effects in the interscapular region or back region in layperson’s terms (injury number 11), multiple abrasions on right buttock (injury number 21). See attached photo of Atif’s back and leg which clearly illustrate these injuries.

It is further explicitly stated that injury number 7 was "produced by blunt force impact by object or surface.”

The gun shot injuries received by Atif are as follows:

Gunshot wounds (Entry) on the body of Atif Ameen

Gunshot Wound No. Size Area

14 1 cm diameter, cavity deep Left side back

9 2X1 cm, cavity deep having 1 cm abrasion collar Left side back of chest

13 3x1 cm cavity deep with abrasion collar of 9.2 cm Over midline at back, 30 cm below the nape of neck

8 1.5 x1 cm x cavity deep Right scapular region, 10 cm from midline and 7 cm below tip of right shoulder

15 0.5 cm diameter Xcavity deep Lower back midline, 44 cm below nape of neck

6 1.5 X1 cm oval in shape Inner aspect of left thigh (track going upward), communicating with gsw injury no. 20 at left buttock region from where a metallic object is recovered. The GSW 20 is cited as of unusually large size of 5x2.2 cm

10 1x0.5 cm5 cm below right shoulder tip & 14cm below midline

11 1x0.5 cm Inter scapular region, 4cm right to midline

12 2x1.5 cm Right side back, 15 cm from midline, 29 cm below tip of the right shoulder

16 1 cm diameter Outer and back aspect of right forearm

· Almost (8 out of 10) all the entry wounds on the body of Atif Ameen are on the back side, in the region below the shoulders and at the back of the chest, which point to the fact that he was repeatedly shot from behind.

· Another one (no.6 on the table) is on the inner side of the left thigh but suspiciously, the trajectory of the shot is in the upward direction, thus suggesting that in this case the shot was fired from below. What caused the unusually large wound of 5 x 2.2 cm? Why were metallic objects present in the left thigh?

Gunshot wounds on the body of Mohd Sajid

2) 17-year-old Md Sajid also displayed at least two injuries (numbers 13 and 14, interscapular region and right leg), which had been caused by blunt force impact by object or surface.” The gunshot injuries received by Sajid are as follows:

Gunshot Wound no. 1 Right frontal region of the scalp (forehead)

Gunshot Wound no. 2Right forehead

Gunshot Wound no. 5 Tip of right shoulder (going vertically downwards)

Gunshot Wound no. 8Back of left side chest (12 cm from root of neck)

Gunshot Wound no. 10Left side of occiput (in layperson’s term, back portion of the head)

The entry points of each of these gunshot wounds—and the fact that all but one bullet is travelling in a downward direction—strongly suggests that he was held down by force (which also explain the injuries on the back and leg region), while bullets were pumped down his forehead, back and head. (See also photo attached.)

In which genuine cross fire do people receive injuries only in the back and head region??

The all-important question is at why the NHRC deliberately ignored this incriminating and suggestive evidence? In its refusal to pursue any contrary line of investigation, it has proved itself to be in collusion with the Delhi Police, discarding even the minimum pretence of impartiality.

However, post mortem report is only one of the documents that been released by the NHRC to the appellant Afroze Alam. It includes, in addition, statements by senior police officers and a “Note on Investigation of the Serial Blasts at Delhi” (which became the basis for NHRC’s report and also the LG’s decision that no magisterial probe was required into the encounter’).

The Note on Investigation is high on allegations but cipher on any hard evidence. Some of the important point it makes to buttress its claims about Indian Mujaheddin and Atif Amin’s terror links are as follows:

1) The cell phone number 9811004309 is shown to be at the heart of the investigations. According to the police, this number was in touch with three cell numbers from Gujarat, which were under surveillance by Gujarat Police following the Ahmedabad blasts (which took place on 26th July 2008). Further, this number was found to be present near Nizamuddin station on 21st July 2008, from where according to the police, ‘terrorists’ booked train tickets for Ahmedabad.

According to the police, the cell number belonged Md. Atif Amin and the police even lists how this cell number was switched off on 23rd September 2007 (UP court blasts).

However, by the police’s own admission in the Note, this number came to be acquired by Atif Amin on 11th August 2008 (much after UP court blasts and after Ahmedabad blasts and the supposed booking of train tickets at Nizamuddin station). Atif got this number as a post paid connection on 11th Aug and all the address details furnished by him were found to be true (that is how the police arrived at L-18 on 19th September 2008 in the first place).

So the only piece of evidence that the police had to nail down Atif Amin was his cell number, which he did not even possess at the time the Gujarat Police was tracking it. None of the material and evidence supposedly seized by the police has any procedural validity (The Note even fails to mention where most of the material has been seized from).

2) The Note also mentions that immediately following the shootout, photographs of the “deceased Atif and Sajid were sent through Intelligence Agency (sic) to Afzal Usmani, who confirmed that they were indeed involved in the blasts. Recall that the ‘encounter’ took place on 19th September 2008, and the Annexure ‘A’ submitted by the police to the NHRC states that Usmani was arrested on 23rd September 2008, full four days after the ‘encounter’. So when was Usmani arrested? When were the supposed confirmations made?

In light of these revelations and in the persistent refusal of the NHRC to take into account evidence which vitiates the Delhi Police claims that the ‘encounter’ was genuine, JTSA reiterates the demand for a judicial probe into the Batla House ‘encounter’. All those arguing that judicial probes are protracted and futile exercises are simple asking us to forget that two young men were killed under highly mysterious circumstances, and given that a separate FIR has not even been filed in the case of their killings, nor a magisterial probe conducted, as required under NHRC guidelines, a time bound judicial probe is the only solution.

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