Lawyers Group Urges Supreme Court to Order Probe Into Lucknow Encounter

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UP ATS personnel outside the house where a suspected IS-inspired militant was killed Wednesday morning. HT Photo/Deepak Gupta
UP ATS personnel outside the house where a suspected IS-inspired militant was killed Wednesday morning. HT Photo/Deepak Gupta

SENIOR SUPREME COURT LAWYER PROF BHIM SINGH AND RIHAI MANCH PUNCTURE POLICE CLAIMS ABOUT SAIFULLAH’S ‘ENCOUNTER’ IN UTTAR PRADESH CAPITAL

By Our Correspondent

NEW DELHI/LUCKNOW — Casting serious doubts over the claim of security agencies on the ‘killing’ of a youth Saifullah in Lucknow, a lawyers group on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to take the Suo-moto notice of the encounter and to set up a Judicial Commission to bring out the truth about it. Meanwhile, the UP-based rights group Rihai Manch alleged that “it was a staged-managed encounter to improve fortunes of the BJP in the last phase of UP assembly polls”.

Prof. Bhim Singh, who is  the Executive Chairman of State Legal Aid Committee and Senior Advocate of  Supreme Court,  has urged  chief Justice of India  J.S. Khehar to appoint a Judicial Commission to hold an urgent inquiry into the facts, circumstances and the situation that was responsible for this gruesome ‘murder of a youth’. He said the inquiry Commission should comprise of at least three judges so that the truth comes out before the general public and law and order keeping agencies in the country.

Prof. Bhim Singh reminded that the Supreme Court has held such inquiries at different times by holding a suo-moto inquiry into the conduct of the police or ruling agencies in the past.

Doubts Over Police Claims; Connection With UP Polls

Raising doubts on the Police’s claim, he said that the tragic incident that shook the nation on the eve of the last phase of the assembly election in UP  has raised several questions that need to be answered which are in the interest of unity, integrity and secular ethos of the nation.

He also assured the court that the State Legal Aid Committee and his colleagues shall provide all possible assistance to the Court in finding out the truth. Prof. Bhim Singh also urged the Court to issue directions to the electronic and print media not to publish the imaginary or politically circulated stories in the media till the investigation by the Court reaches its conclusion and finding.  It is the most important legal action that deserves the attention of the Supreme Court, he emphasized.

Exposing the big holes in the police version, Rihai Manch said: “The drama of encounter was enacted by the central government to polarize the last phase of elections in UP in the BJP’s favor.”

Rihai Manch General Secretary Rajeev Yadav said the whole story leading to this action was riddled with loopholes, making it a case of political gain. In a statement, Yadav said the Rihai Manch had predicted that any such thing happened to help the BJP in the polls as it has lost sheen due to the Modi government’s anti-poor policies.

He recalled that a similar attempt was made in Sambhal in the first phase of assembly polls but the Jat voters have foiled that plot adding that “Such a dubious action in the midst the elections reflects the desperation of the BJP and its government at the Center.

Serious questions have been raised over the death of Mohammed Saifullah in an 'encounter' in Lucknow .
Serious questions have been raised over the death of Mohammed Saifullah in an ‘encounter’ in Lucknow .

Father Sees Foul Play

Meanwhile, the father of Saifullah Sartaj has alleged that ‘there was a foul play in his son’s murder. Defending his son, Sartaj said, “Two and half months back he (Saifullah) left home after I hit him for not working. He called last Monday saying he’s going to Saudi Arabia. I do not believe any of these accusations, they are all false. Saifullah was a well-behaved person; he performed namaz five times a day. We did not expect this”,

Similarly, the father of Imran and Faisal, who were arrested in Kanpur, also vehemently denied that the charges against them saying his sons were being implicated in false charges.

Rihai Manch, which came into existence after the Batla House encounter in Delhi in September 2008, has been fighting the cases of Muslim youths who were wrongfully framed into terror cases.

Yadav said the blast in the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train on Tuesday morning that set off the chain of events leading to the Lucknow encounter, was attributed to a tube light blowout in one of the compartments. Passengers spoke about it on camera, so did SP GRP Krishna Veni who initially said that the blast was caused due to an electrical short circuit. However, GRP changed its version after the Madhya Pradesh home minister Bhupendra Singh described the blast as a terror strike.

Sartaj, father of Saifullah, has alleged foul play in the death of his son.
Sartaj, father of Saifullah, has alleged foul play in the death of his son.

The Manch had apprehension that the security agencies would stage something like this to improve political fortunes of the BJP in this election as, before the sixth round of polling, the agencies had tried to create an atmosphere claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could be attacked. While in the run-up to the first phase of polling, a team of the special cell of Delhi police stayed in Sambhal to arrest Mohammad Usman following the arrest of two persons in Gujarat.

 Yadav also said the UP police could not answer some plain questions about the so-called encounter.

“The police have maintained it tried for a surrender of youth holed up in the house, they even made his uncle talk to him over the phone.”

The Police must answer that how did it know the name of terror suspect and where did it get the phone number of his uncle as well that of Saifullah who was killed in the action, he said.

After the alleged encounter, it was as usual for a section of media to run imaginary stories about the encounter without questioning the police version.  Some reports say the police made the gunman Saifullah speak to his brother who implored him to surrender.

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