To fight terror give free hand to security forces
In his zeal to see his country independent, freedom fighter and poet Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil wrote: Shahidon ki chitaon par lagenge har baras mele/Watan pe marne walon ka yahi baaki nishan hoga (There would be memorials every year at the pyres of martyrs/This is how the nation’s heroes would be remembered). Poor Bismil, he did not reckon with Congress rule in the 21st century. Today, while unconscionable jihadis are lionised by unscrupulous politicians and prominent intellectuals, the brave security personnel who make the supreme sacrifice are forgotten.
On the third anniversary of Batla House encounter on September 19, Muslim organisations gathered at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to demand a judicial probe into the incident. Firmly in the denial mode, they tried to peddle the myths they have manufactured over the years. Many of them raised the slogan, ‘Atif Ameen Zindabad.’ Amin, it may be recalled, was one of the Muslim terrorists gunned down by a team of Delhi Police led by Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma. Unfortunately, Sharma was shot in action and he succumbed to injuries in hospital. As his mother, Devendri Devi Sharma told The Times Of India (September 20), “Nobody called us or came to our house.”
Three years later, jihadis and their sympathisers in political and intellectual classes have kept the issue alive, despite it being proved beyond reasonable doubt that (as we shall see) it was a genuine encounter in which the city police force lost an ace officer. They have also built a mythology in which Muslims are victims who are unjustly harassed by law-enforcement agencies. Addressing the gathering at Jantar Mantar, Rashtriya Ulema Council chief Maulana Aamir Rashadvi said, “The government arrests and tortures Muslim youth as a cover-up for its own inefficiencies after a terror attack.”
He and other protesting Muslims were convinced that the Batla House encounter was fake. They ignore all facts, including Sharma’s killing. They also ignore what the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) later said that there was no human rights violation in the encounter.
They have been trying to drown facts in a deluge of wild allegations. After the encounter, they and their intellectual accomplices had raised a myriad of questions: Why wasn’t Sharma wearing a bulletproof jacket? How did a terrorist manage to escape despite a strong police presence in the area? Was it botched-up operation? Was Sharma killed in what in military parlance is called ‘friendly fire’ (that is, when somebody is injured or killed by their own colleagues)? Or something sinister was there? Did Sharma’s rivals in his department shoot him down?
The questions were not raised to find out the truth but to obscure, distort, or bury it under the garbage of baseless charges, outlandish conspiracy theories, and politically correct myths. The human rights activists and Muslim appeasing politicians raised a stink and demanded all sorts of inquiries into the incident. The NHRC was also approached. The panel has been unequivocal in its conclusion: “It cannot be said that there has been any violation of human rights by action of police.”
Unsurprisingly, civil rights groups went on to question the credibility of the premium human rights panel, calling it “a propaganda arm of the state and not the independent custodian of human rights.” They approach an organisation for justice, and if it does not accept their version, they denigrate it. The message is unambiguous: either you agree with us, or else we’ll disparage you.
Further, the Delhi High Court in August 2009 accepted the conclusions of the NHRC. The High Court rejected the demand for a judicial probe into the gunfight. But the vested interests did not lose heart and moved the Supreme Court. A couple of months later, even the apex court dismissed their request for an independent judicial probe. The Bench of Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan pointed out that the armed young men who shoot at policemen could not be innocent.
Such phony human rights activists help terrorists by deterring upright cops acting tough. You cannot expect security personnel to fight bloodthirsty jihadis with the fear of endless inquiries in mind. While jihadis are glorified by unscrupulous politicians and professional radicals, heroes are vilified without any compunction. Against this backdrop, it was indeed creditable on the part of the Bharatiya Janata Party to demand that the road leading to Batla House be renamed after Inspector Sharma.
(The author is a senior journalist)