Muslims demand judicial enquiry on the Batla House encounter

Published: January 29, 2009 - 20:04 Updated: January 29, 2009 - 20:15

Samarth Pathak, Delhi Hardnews

Thursday, Jan 29

Demonstrating against the harassment of Indian Muslims, nearly 3,000 people participated in a protest rally held at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Thursday. Organised by the Ulema Council, the rally witnessed a huge turn out comprising Muslims from Uttar Pradesh and teachers and students from universities across Delhi. Amidst heavy police presence, the protesters demanded a judicial probe into last year's Batla House encounter, and actively voiced their opinion on the subsequent "arrests" and stereotyping of innocent Muslims as terrorists.

The protesters expressed their ire and disappointment by shouting slogans like "Let the truth prevail, bring innocents out of jail" and "Don't blame the Muslim youth, bring out the Batla truth." The convener of the Ulema Council, Maulana Aamir Rashid Madani, told Hardnews "We want a judicial enquiry on the Batla House encounter. Innocent Muslims are being harassed by the authorities and are seen with suspicion by everyone. Muslims are the most patriotic of all, and we have proved our loyalty time and again. We are tired of being used as a votebank, and then backstabbed by the political parties."

Tahir Madani, an active member of the council revealed to Hardnews, "All parties have played with our problems, but they have never tried to resolve them. We now intend to emerge as a political force to have our say in governance, and will put up candidates from Azamgarh and Lalganj in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections." Tahir also added, "The Congress is worse than the BJP, and our goal is to stop it from returning to power in the upcoming polls." The protesters refused to speak to the media (saying they had been ‘harassed' enough by the media already.), leaving the talking to their leaders. 

The demonstrators reached the capital from Azamgarh in the ‘Ulema Express', specially arranged by the Ulema Council at a cost of Rs 20 lakh approximately. The train would return on Thursday evening itself.