Two police encounters are being questioned by the media across the country. While media's attention seems to be largely concentrated on the killing of laborers belonging to Tamil Nadu who were allegedly killed by Andhra Pradesh police for being sandalwood smugglers, Urdu media's attention is obviously more on another encounter.
Police claims that five people who were being taken to the court in Hyderabad from Warangal district attacked police.
The official police version says that they retaliated and killed the five convicts in self defense. Urdu newspapers and Muslim activists are unanimous that the encounter that reportedly took place on April 7 was fake. They claim that this is the reason that officers despite trying to prove that the prisoners who, according to them, were trained in firearm couldn't succeed in even slightly injuring police personnel travelling on the same bus.
A report in Daily The Inquilab says that the latest round of killing has renewed the memories of Hashmipura massacre of the year 1988 in Meerut where PAC personnel killed as many as 40 people from point blank range after abducting them from their houses. "Ahmad Bukhari, the shahi imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid says the whole story that the police has invented regarding the encounter is farce. From police's very own version it can be proved easily that the encounter was fake and that the youth were killed in a well planned manner", says the Inquilab report.
"Maulana Abdur Rahim Quraishi, the spokesperson for All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPB) says that this was not encounter, but killing of innocent Muslim youth. We condemn it. The youth who were gunned down, their cases were heading to conclusion and they would have been freed pretty soon like many other people. Their arguments in the court had ended and all the evidences were against police. This is the reason that police eliminated them in cold blooded manner".
A report in Urdu daily Roznama Rashtriya Sahara while quoting Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind leader Mehmood Madani says, "it was proving impossible to substantiate the charges against the five people and the court would have honorably released them. Many courts in Andhra Pradesh in the past have released a large number of Muslims youth in the past who were languishing in jails on fake terrorism charges. Their cases were in the final stage and so police invented the fake encounter theory and gunned them down by leveling charges of attacking police".
The Sahara report went on to add, "the way these young men were chained and were under the watch of more than twenty police officials, it cannot be accepted that they could succeed in attacking police by snatching their guns. He has demanded a thorough enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the encounter case and has said that his organization with nationwide presence will move the court to seek justice."
Janta Pariwar unification
In the meantime the unification of Janta Parivar is making headlines in different Urdu newspapers. These papers believe that this is going to be a formidable force in the coming days and may give tough time to the BJP not just in states but also at the center. Samajwadi Party, Janta Dal United of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of Lalu Prasad Yadav are merging their outfits in a single organization set up with Mulayam Sing Yadav as its head. Many analysts have looked very enthusiastic towards the idea, but there are some who are apprehensive.
A report in Sehroza Dawat says, "This initiative could have been welcomed more warmly, but past experiences and experiments don't allow us to be ecstatic regarding it. Such experiments have been done time and again, but these have proved disastrous all the time. All such experiments have failed. This is because of the fact that all such alliances are temporary in nature and mostly caused due to circumstances. Every group in such alliance has myopic agenda and every leader wants to serve his interests. So this alliance too has been formed to be broken up sooner than later".
Parvaz Rehmani's report in Dawat goes on to add, "After massive win of the BJP that completely eclipsed such parties, they needed this alliance to make them relevant. But electorate in North India who hadn't voted for the ruling alliance and who are looking forward to an alternative, this alliance can give some hope. The fact that most of them call themselves secular leaders has given some hope to Muslims about this new initiative. But give the past experiences, most of them have used Muslims as vote-bank and some others had alliances with the BJP too despite keeping their secular tag intact. Only Lalu Yadav comes a bit clean on the issue.
"Aam Aadmi Party of Arvid Kejriwal had given some hope to people, but given the sort of public infighting, they have shown that they are of the same stock as any other political party. In the given circumstances the new alliance can get some benefit, but the issue of leadership will break many hearts in the coming days". Says the report.
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Syed Ubaidur Rahman is a New Delhi based writer and commentator. He has written several books on Muslims and Islam in India including Understanding Muslim Leadership in India.