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Salman Khurshid confirms Sonia Gandhi was ‘shaken’ by the death of Batla encounter terrorists, had earlier said she had cried bitterly

Salman Khurshid emphasised that Sonia Gandhi was taken aback by the manner in which the Indian Mujahideen terrorists were neutralised.

On Friday (November 12), veteran Congress leader Salman Khurshid courted controversy after reiterating that party supremo Sonia Gandhi was shaken by the visuals of dead terrorists in the Batla House encounter.

While speaking to Rahul Shivshankar of Times Now, Khurshid emphasised that Gandhi was taken aback by the manner in which the Indian Mujahideen terrorists were neutralised. He justified, “I can tell you what I said and what had happened. The gruesome pictures that were produced and shown, shook her. She said, ‘Do not show them to me.’ She was not shaken by the ideology of the man who was killed but the manner in which a human being was killed.”

Khurshid further added, “For the worst people of the country, we do not allow executions on the streets. That’s the law in the country.” At that point, Rahul Shivshankar pointed out that the men were not ordinary but terrorists, who had killed a police officer and were neutralised in the encounter. “She did not shed tears for the police officer,” the Times Now journalist stated.

The Congress leader then tried to give a clean chit to the Batla House terrorists by claiming that the matter was controversial. Rahul Shivshankar then pointed out to Salman Khurshid that a court had held the accused in the Batla House encounter guilty. On hearing that, the Congress leader said, “Of course, if the judgment has come, let it rest there. Let’s not question that.”

The Batla House encounter dates back to September 19, 2008, during which two Indian Mujahideen terrorists namely Atif Amin and Mohammad Sajid were neutralised. The terrorists had been hiding in a locality in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, after killing about 30 people in Delhi serial blasts. When the Delhi police received intelligence reports about their hideout, they ambushed the locality leading to the encounter of the two terrorists. Three others, including Ariz Khan, managed to escape the law enforcement before being nabbed in 2018.

In March this year, terrorist Ariz Khan, convicted of murdering Delhi Police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma during the Batla House encounter, was awarded the death penalty by a Delhi Court. While political opportunism is not new to Indian politics, the Batla House encounter was a glaring example of politicians putting vote bank politics over the country’s interests. The Congress party not only insinuated that the probe was not independent, and stirred sympathy for the terrorists but also mocked the martyrdom of MC Sharma and cast aspersions about the authenticity of the encounter.

Salman Khurshid and his earlier statements with respect to Batla House encounter

Salman Khurshid, in one of his rallies during the 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 matter. I talked to the PM and it was decided that the matter will be further investigated.”

However, in 2019, Salman Khurshid retracted his statement and claimed that he was quoted out of context. He said, “I never said that. In fact, I was misquoted. There was a difference between what I had said and what the media projected. I had said that the then Congress President didn’t wish to see visuals of an encounter (as the images are painful in nature).” Except, it does not appear so.

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Searched termsBatla House Encounter
Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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