Telengana Police Murder 5 Undertrial Muslim Political Prisoners – CRPP Statement

April 15, 2015

COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
185/3 FOURTH FLOOR, ZAKIR NAGAR, NEW DELHI-110025

DATE: 08.04.2015

The ‘encounter’ is the unique contribution of the police in India to the vocabulary of human rights. … Since the beginning of the 70s, however, it has come to represent, in most cases, the taking into custody of an individual or a group, their torture, resulting in murder. The official press release then elaborately outlines the confrontation, an encounter in which the police invariably claim to have fired in ‘self-defence’. …The police and their agents have not spared using the most brutal methods to liquidate inconvenient individuals.

–Smithu Kothari in Sunday Express(Feb 20, 1983)

Killings of the kind we have investigated thus far cannot be the work of the policemen acting on their own. Policemen often beat and sometimes torture citizens who have fallen into their custody. But they would not murder citizens unless they were certain of support from the very top.

–V. M. Tarkunde in The first interim Report of the Committee to collect evidence about deaths that had occurred in a series of “encounters” in the State of Andhra Pradesh, released in May 1977.

CONDEMN THE COLD BLOODED MURDER OF 5 HANDCUFFED UNDERTRIAL MUSLIM POLITICAL PRISONERS BEING TAKEN TO THE COURT BY THE TELANGANA POLICE!

BOOK THE POLICEMEN INVOLVED IN THE MURDER UNDER SECTION 302 IMMEDIATELY!

CONSTITUTE AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIAL ENQUIRY INTO THE KILLINGS WITHOUT DELAY!

The above discerning observations of two prominent citizens in the ‘70s and early ‘80s have once again proven beyond doubt, in every detail, of the story of the trail of cold blooded murder, indulged in by the enforcers of law—this time with a new name, the Telangana police. The story of ‘firing in self-defence’ is once again being repeated as the media faithfully lapped up the story that was dished out by the IG Naveen Chand. Both the Times of India and the Hindustan Times have carried the news in their pages 11 and 10 also indicates the news value that they deem fit for such an act of lawlessness. That this firing in ‘self-defence’ has happened with hand-cuffed political prisoners who were being taken from Warangal to Hyderabad in the Warangal-Nalgonda border area has had little significance for the media as they went on airing the views of the police. Since all of them are accused in alleged ‘terror’ related cases the onus of proving their innocence in this particular incident also must be on them! And being from the Muslim community makes it double jeopardy! Will the dead bodies be summoned to prove their innocence?!

As the eminent jurist VM Tarkunde has observed above such acts of impunity, of cold blooded murder cannot happen unless and until being approved / supported from the very top. The rot that has infested the system has gone deep within and has been there for quite long. The killings of under-trial political prisoners—Viqaruddin Ahmed, Amjed Ali, Md. Zaker, Md. Haneef and Israr Khan, in judicial custody for the last four years and have never reported a case of escape on them—who were being handcuffed and escorted by 18 armed policemen is yet another manifestation of a criminal and communal police force out to instill fear and insecurity among the vast sections of the minorities and other downtrodden people. If one goes through the mainstream media, all of them are one in alleging that the deceased are all having links with the proscribed Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and then make this passing remark that SIMI has been involved in several blasts that killed and injured many people. A little verification of the facts can show that despite the hundreds of cases foisted against scores of Muslim youth accusing them of their involvement in alleged blasts the prosecution story has fallen flat in almost all cases! But it becomes mandatory for the prejudiced media to feed into this image of the ‘potential terrorist’ that every Muslim can or should be!

With the present phase of a renewed hyperbole of hate campaigns against Muslims, dalits, Christians, non-vegetarian food cultures and livelihoods associated with cattle slaughter the lawful lawlessness of the police to kill in cold blood Muslim youth becomes the manifest reality of the deteriorating everyday life of the vast sections of the people in the subcontinent. The deafening silence of the powers that be—be it the prime minister or the chief minister of Telangana or the home ministers of the centre as well as the state—is a mute testimony of the sanction that is guaranteed for this lawful lawlessness for impunity. If Muslim youth are not killed in such ‘encounters’ then they will have to wait for a life time to prove their innocence. In other words for the court to realize the fact that they are innocent! In post-1947 India, it is increasingly becoming difficult for political prisoners, especially those belonging to the Muslim minority, to bridge this widening gap between proving their innocence and for the powers that be and hence the courts to realize the accused Muslims are innocent! This trend is fast embracing the adivasis as well as the dalits too.

We at the CRPP demand that the policemen involved in the killings be booked under Section 302 of the CrPC. We demand an independent judicial enquiry into the whole incident by a sitting judge of the High Court.

In protest,

SAR Geelani
President

Amit Bhattacharyya
Secretary General

Rona Wilson
Secretary, Public Relations