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20 November, 2008

Jamia teachers demand probe into Special Cell's 'gallantry'

The recent revelations by the CBI to the Sessions Court that the Special Cell had falsely implicated two Muslim youths, Irshad Ali and Mohammad Qamar as Al-Badr terrorists raises serious questions over the methods and motives of the Special Cell.

The CBI has recommended severe punishment for the Cell's officers Ravinder Kumar Tyagi – the recipient of the President's Gallantry award at this year's Republic Day Parade – and Vinay Tyagi and Subhash Vats, who forged and fabricated evidence to prove that Ali and Qamar were terrorists. It has turned out that both men were actually Intelligence Bureau informers and that they were punished by the Special Cell for noncompliance with their orders. The Special Cell was also driven by its insatiable lust for awards and promotions, which it appears, can only be attained by arresting and 'encountering' young men who can later conveniently be proclaimed as 'Islamic terrorists'.

While welcoming the CBI's disclosures, we are however, surprised that the CBI does not comment on the role of the Special Cell senior officers who were supervising the now disgraced officers. Surely, the latter could not have acted on their own, nor have planted the false evidence without the knowledge of their senior officers, ACP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav and the late Inspector M.C. Sharma.

But what is most startling is the fact that a majority of this Special Cell team also led the charge on L-18, Batla House on 19th September. Given their now proven past record of indulging in falsehoods, manufacturing evidence where none exists and framing innocents as terrorists, the need for an enquiry into the Batla House 'encounter' is all the more urgent.

Civil rights groups have been pointing out the glaring contradictions in the various police versions of the Batla House 'encounter' and the complicity of the arrested and killed students in 'terrorist' activities. The national Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan had earlier termed our demands for a judicial probe into the incident as a 'travesty'. But given the CBI's conclusive findings about the involvement of the very same Special Cell team in past sham frame ups, we would also like to ask, why he maintains an eerie silence now.

Special Cell's bloodied history has been marked by fake encounters (Ansal Plaza, Millennium Park etc) and gross violations of procedures laid down by the NHRC. No democracy can survive by glorifying such killers and murderers by bestowing gallantry awards on them.

Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Group reiterates its demands:

1) A Judicial probe under a sitting judge of the Supreme Court into the Batla House 'Encounter'
2) Handing over the investigation to the CBI as we have no faith in the impartiality of the Special Cell.
3) A thorough probe into the past and present activities of the Special Cell.

Manisha Sethi (9811625577)
Adil Mehdi (9990923027)
Anuradha Ghosh (9868881756)
Sreerekha (9868120339)

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