As the Hyderabad encounter that led to the killing of four rape accused in the Hyderabad vet rape and murder case has become the talking point of the country, here is a look at the other encounter cases that had led to controversies in the country.
Batla House Encounter:
Batla House encounter officially known as Operation Batla House, took place on 19 September 2008, against Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists in Batla House locality in Jamia Nagar, Delhi, in which two suspected terrorists, Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajid were killed while two other suspects Mohammad Saif and Zeeshan were arrested, while one accused Ariz Khan managed to escape.
Encounter specialist and Delhi Police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, who led the police action was killed during the incident.
On the evening of 13 Sept 2008, a series of bomb blasts had rocked the country’s capital New Delhi. The blasts had killed around 30 people and injured more than 100. The Delhi Police was given the responsibility to investigate the bombing. As part of their investigation, the Delhi Police examined several leads, witnesses and CCTV footages.
During the investigation, the Delhi police received information that the accused terrorists responsible for the bombings were hiding in a building called “Batla House” in the Jamia Nagar area of New Delhi.
A Delhi Police team headed by renowned police officer Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and his team arrived at the Batla House to arrest the potential suspects. Since Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma knew that he would be raiding a terrorist hide-out, he had his team equipped with bulletproof jackets and automatic weapons but strangely he did not wear any bulletproof jacket. On top of this, he had also volunteered to lead the assault.
As soon as the assault team broke open the door, the terrorists who were hiding in one of the flats of Batla House fired with their weapon hitting Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma. He was shot in his abdomen, thigh and arm. Besides him, two other policemen were also injured. Unfortunately, Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma lost his life on his way to the hospital due to excessive bleeding while his two colleagues survived.
In the ensuing firefight between the Delhi Police, two terrorists were killed, two were arrested and one escaped who reappeared in Syria two days ago as an ISIS recruiter. In the subsequent raids after interrogating the two captured terrorists, many arrests were made across India which included many low level Muslim political leaders.
In the meantime, while this investigation was underway, senior Congress leader Salman Kurshid had stated that the then Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had tears in her eyes when she read the news that two Muslims terrorists had been killed during the encounter.
Ishrat Jahan Encounter:
Around 5 am on the morning of June 15, 2004, an investigative unit in Ahmedabad had received a call that four people – three men and a woman linked Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were planning to assassinate the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi.
The suspected LeT terrorists who killed in the incident were Ishrat Jahan Raza, a 19-year-old woman from Mumbai and three men – Javed Ghulam Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar. The police officers from the Crime Branch had killed four suspected terrorists close to a water treatment plant on the outskirts of the Gujarat capital.
The First Information Report filed by the Gujarat police later that day said officers from the Ahmedabad city Crime Branch had received intelligence that two “Pakistani fidayeen (suicide killers)” were travelling from Kashmir to Ahmedabad to “attempt a suicidal attack” on Narendra Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat at the time. Johar and Rana were identified as the two Pakistani nationals. Shaikh, the third male victim, was allegedly arranging their local network.
The Ishrat Jahan encounter had caused a huge controversy in the counter after the incident was allegedly used by the Congress party to target the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.
David Headley, a Pakistani-American terrorist who had collaborated with the Lashkar-e-Taiba, later had revealed that Ishrat Jahan was an operative of the LeT.
It is alleged that Congress used this incident for appeasement and vindicating politics by claiming that Ishrat Jahan was innocent and the encounter carried out by the Gujarat police as a fake. The allegations against the Congress party is that they misused the investigative agencies like CBI, IB, NIA and ATS for proving this encounter as fake for political gains against their rivals.
The police team involved in the incident had been led by DIG DG Vanjara, an officer who spent eight years in jail for this incident. The current Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also spent some days in jails due to this case.
However, in 2004, a Central Bureau of Investigation report denied that Amit Shah had any role in the shootout. In June 2013, an Intelligence Bureau report which appeared in the media told the PMO and the home ministry that the agency had enough evidence to prove that Ishrat was part of a LeT module which planned to kill CM Narendra Modi.
In May 2014, few days prior to Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister of the country, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) gave a clean chit to Amit Shah, who was the Home Minister when the encounter took place.
Sohrabuddin Shaikh Encounter:
On November 23, 2005, Sohrabuddin Shaikh, a suspected Let terrorist, his wife Kauserbi and aide Tulsiram Prajapati were allegedly abducted while travelling from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra. Shaikh and Kauserbi were taken to Gujarat, while Prajapati was arrested from Bhilwara in Rajasthan.
According to the accused, Shaikh was a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative and was on his way to Gujarat to “assassinate a big political leader”. Shaikh was killed in an encounter on November 26, 2005, near Ahmedabad. His wife, three days later, Prajapati was killed near the Gujarat-Rajasthan border on December 27, 2006.
Dara Singh Encounter:
Bootlegger and liquor mafia leader Dara Singh was killed in an encounter in 2006 by the Special Operations Group (SOG). The wife of Dara Singh Sushila Devi had called the encounter a murder, calling it fake. Later, the Supreme Court had asked the CBI to investigate the encounter on a petition filed by Dara Singh’s wife Sushila Devi.
Rajendra Singh Rathore, a union minister in the ruling central government was arrested in the case but discharged later. The CBI charge sheet said that Rathore had ordered Dara Singh’s encounter as he had threatened to kill him over an inter-caste liquor mafia gang war.
Bhopal Jailbreak- SIMI Encounter:
In October 2016, eight SIMI activists were killed in an encounter in Manikhedi Kot Pathar village on the outskirts of Bhopal eight hours after they escaped from Bhopal Central Jail by killing a guard.
Mohd Saliq, Zakir Hussain, Amjad Khan, Mehboob Guddu, Mohd Aqeel Khilji, Mujeeb Sheikh, Mohammad Khalid Ahmad and Abdul Majid were killed in the encounter.
The eight SIMI members were lodged at the state’s most secure prison and were being tried for several cases including offences punishable with death or life imprisonment. They had escaped after tying up one guard and slitting the throat of another.
Reportedly, the SIMI members had opened the lock of the cell with a key and scaled the outer jail wall using a ladder made of bedsheets and wooden pieces to escape from the prison.
On the early hours of Friday, all the four accused in the Hyderabad veterinarian’s rape and murder case have been killed in a police encounter at Shadnagar.
According to the Telangana police, the four accused in the Hyderabad rape and murder were shot dead in an encounter on the NH-44 near Hyderabad, the same highway where the charred body of the 26-year-old was found.
The police opened fire at the four accused as they tried to escape. The police had been taken the four accused to the spot for recreation of the crime scene.
According to the Shamshabad DCP Prakash Reddy, a police team had taken the four accused to the very spot of the crime early today morning between 3 to 6 am. The accused had snatched some weapons from policemen and tried to escape. They were killed by retaliatory fire in self-defence by the police. Two policemen have also reportedly suffered injuries in the encounter.
The Telangana police had arrested all the four under charges of gang-rape and murder in less than 24 hours after the crime. The police had confirmed that a lorry driver named Mohammad Pasha from Narayanpet in Mahababub Nagar district was allegedly the main suspect. The other accused were identified as Naveen from Gudigandla, cleaner Kesavulu, and an assistant named Shiva.