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Batla House: The encounter where killing of two Indian Mujahideen terrorists made Sonia Gandhi ‘cry bitterly’

John Abraham starrer Batla House is based on the incident where two Indian Mujahideen terrorists were killed in an encounter by Delhi Police.

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Nirwa Mehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

John Abraham starrer Batla House film is set to be released on 15th August. The film’s trailer was released yesterday.

The trailer starts with a scene where Delhi Police officials are readying for a raid in a small house. An encounter ensues between the police officers and men in the room who are eventually killed. This leads to a huge uproar that the encounter was a fake one.

Batla House encounter

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The film is based on true events which transpired in the heart of national capital on 19th September 2008. The men killed in the encounter were Indian Mujahideen terrorists, Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajid. Mohammad Saif was arrested and Shahzad and Junaid managed to escape.

The beginning

On 13th September 2008, the national capital was rocked by five serial blasts. At 6:07 PM, one blast took place at the busy Ghaffar Market. When the injured were taken to nearby RML Hospital, an explosive kept in a car nearby exploded. Soon after, two blasts took place in the busy Connaught Place. Eyewitnesses claim they saw two men put explosives inside a dustbin. Minutes later two more blasts took place at M-block market in Greater Kailash 1.

Prior to Delhi blasts, Jaipur (13 May), Bengaluru (25 July) and Ahmedabad (26 July) had witnessed serial blasts killing dozens. Indian Mujahideen had claimed responsibility of the bomb blasts. Atif Ameen, who was killed in the Batla House encounter, was the chief bomber of Indian Mujahideen.

The encounter

A week after the serial blasts, a team of seven Delhi Police officials, led by encounter specialist Mohan Chand Sharma reached L-18, Batla House. The Police team was working on a specific input that a man wanted in serial blasts was hiding in Batla House in Jamia Nagar.

Police attempted to storm the second floor flat of the building. It was followed by heavy firing from both sides. In the exchange, Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajid were killed. Mohammad Saif was arrested while Shahzad and Junaid managed to escape. Police Inspector Sharma was also injured and later succumbed to his injuries and head constable Balwinder was injured. One of the terrorists who escaped is believed to have become an ISIS recruiter.

The aftermath

Following the killings of the terrorists, the human rights activists were up in the arms against Delhi Police. Jamia Teachers’ Soliditary Association (JTSA) organised ‘Jan Sunwais’ or Kangaroo courts where testimonies were taken to portray the encounter as ‘fake’. Prashant Bhushan, Arundhati Roy and Kavita Krishnan were amongst the ones who attended these. Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University teachers also joined in.

“Sonia Gandhi ro padi”

Meanwhile, Salman Khurshid, a senior Congress leader, in one of his rallies during 2012 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, had said that Sonia Gandhi, the then Congress President cried bitterly after seeing the images of the slain terrorists.

Khurshid had said, “When we showed Sonia Gandhi the images of the ‘incident’, she started crying bitterly and with folded hands, she said please do not show me these pictures. Immediately go and speak to the Wazir-e-Azam (Dr Manmohan Singh) and discuss the mater. I talked to the PM and it was decided that the matter will be further investigated.”

However, the party, later on, got into firefighting mode and Congress’ Digvijaya Singh denied any such meeting. Congress leader Pervez Hashmi, who was part of the delegation that met Sonia Gandhi also denied having seen her cry. “She was worried,” he had then clarified. Eventually, 7 years later, even Khurshid said that she never cried.

The incident of killing of terrorists which may or may not have made the president of the party which was heading the coalition government at Centre at that time cry is now going to be on the celluloid.

For long, uncomfortable incidents have been shoved under the rug, mainly, because the political dispensation rather keeps the memories of the horrors that befell the nation silent. One recalls the uproar when Madhur Bhandarkar made ‘Indu Sarkar’ which was based on the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, or when recently, Vivek Agnihotri made a movie based on Lal Bahadur Shashtri. Perhaps one can be hopeful, that the collective Omerta that has bound Bollywood to the Congress party is finally, at the end of its natural life cycle.

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Nirwa Mehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

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