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2017-04-08 05:29:53

Families of Muslim undertrials killed losing hope in Judiciary

As the Aler encounter of five Muslim undertrial prisoners killed by police on April 7, 2015, completes two years on Friday, justice remains elusive for the families awaiting some outcome from the judiciary.

On April 7, 2015, five people accused of the murder of two policemen were killed in an encounter in Aler, Nalgonda. The five undertrials were killed in an exchange of gunfire as claimed by police whereas victim families term it as ‘fake encounter’ aimed at retribution.

Like most cases of police encounters, this too remains shrouded in mystery.

After the encounter, the Aler Police station under whose territorial jurisdiction the encounter had taken place lodged an FIR under section 120b, 143, 147, 397, 307, 224, 332 r/w 149 IPC & S 25 (1), 27 Arms Act on the deceased UTs, relying completely on the statement of RSI Uday Bhaskar, who was leading the escort police team of Warangal central prison to the Hyderabad Court.

During the hearing of re-postmortem appeal file by family, the higher bench of Andhra High Court had pointed out and questioned police as to how they could have lodge FIR against the deceased persons.

TwoCircles.net did a four-part series on the four under trails out of five by interviewing their families in Hyderabad in March 2016. A year after the series, when we reached the families for the progress in the case, the families seemed despondent and had visibly lost their faith in the judiciary as the case has not even moved a step further.

“Two years have passed and not even a slight progress has been made in our case. The government is in no mood to assure us justice in this matter and that is why they are deliberately delaying the case so that it dies its own death,” Mohammad Ahmed, the father of Mohammed Viqaruddin told TwoCircles.net over the phone from Hyderabad.

“The little hope we had is also diminishing with each passing day. We did protests and press conferences, but nothing has had an impact on this government,” he added.

According to the police, Viqaruddin had asked to stop the vehicle for nature’s call. As he boarded the bus after relieving himself, the Police claimed he tried to snatch INSAS rifle from policemen and tried to flee which led police to open fire, killing all the five youths on spot.

For Viqar’s family, the police claim was hard to believe as they were apprehensive about his safety till the day of the encounter, as he used to tell them about the police torture and their conspiracy to kill him, since the day of his arrest.

Syed Imtiaz Ali, the brother of deceased under trail Syed Amjad Ali, told TCN, “There are no hearings. They didn’t accept our appeal for re-postmortem. If the case would have been handed over to CBI then only the outcomes would have been different but the case is in hand of culprits itself, so justice remains elusive.”

Like Ahmed, Imtiaz has also lost hope that justice could ever be delivered to them. It was visibly clear that both the families were less optimistic about the justice, as compared to last year when TCN interviewed them.

Syed Amjad Ali was the cousin of Mohammed Viqaruddin, then 33, who was also killed in the encounter and had been arrested by Andhra Pradesh’s anti-terrorist agency-Octopus-and the Counter Intelligence Cell back in July 2010 from Mushriabad area of Hyderabad for his alleged role in the killing of two policemen and firing at intelligence agents. According to the police, this was a retribution for the dubious role played by Andhra police against Muslim youths post-May 2007, Makkah Masjid blasts in Hyderabad.

“Now Judiciary is our last resort. If hearings, in this case, goes on, only then we can anticipate justice,” Imtiaz had said last year when TCN interviewed him. A year later, his fears are proving right as the case moves at snail pace.

One of the advocates associated with the case told TCN, “The case did see a few hearings and in the petition, we had asked for Judicial inquiry and arguments in that regard were also completed, but suddenly the Judge was transferred and there have been no hearings after that. Since last June, the court hasn’t granted even a single hearing in this case.”

As has happened with various “fake” encounter cases, this case also seems dying its own death by denial of hearings. Two years later, the families’ questions remain unanswered; their pleas unheard.

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