The Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association, along with other organizations, has called for a National Day of Protest on Friday, August 14, against the continuing trend of ‘encounter’ killings by state forces, arbitrary arrests of Muslim youth and blatant whitewashing of such crimes by state agencies. All this in the name of ‘national security’ and ‘war against terror’.
The cold-blooded murder of Chungkham Sanjit, a 27-year old Manipur youth in broad daylight on July 23 by Manipur Police Commandos, barely 500 meters from the state assembly building in Imphal, has once again highlighted the sordid truth about ‘encounter’ killings in India. While MPC had claimed initially that Sanjit had been killed while escaping during a routine screening operation, their lie was nailed by a series of photographs published by the Tehelka magazine, which showed the unarmed, peaceful youth was shot by the commandos without provocation. In addition, a pregnant woman, Mrs. Rabina and the child in her womb were also killed, while five others were wounded.
Last year on September 19 the Delhi police had carried out a similar ‘encounter’ against alleged ‘terrorists’ of the Indian Mujahideen at Batla House in New Delhi. This would have been another routine ‘encounter’ if not for the nationwide outcry from human rights groups, students and academics.
While the Delhi High Court appointed the National Human Rights Commission to carry out an independent and fair inquiry into the encounter killings, the NHRC has chosen to further sully its already stained reputation by presenting a partisan report absolving the Delhi Police of any human rights violation. The NHRC did not bother to visit the families of the two ‘terrorists’ killed by the Delhi police, talk to eye witnesses or even visit the site of the ‘encounter’, basing their conclusions on the statements of the Delhi Police, the accused party!
This was only a repeat of the shameful exoneration of the security forces by the one-man enquiry commission in the brutal Shopian rape and murder case. In Gujarat the Sohrabuddin ‘encounter’ is returning to haunt the Narendra Modi government as evidence points to yet another cold-blooded murder by a highly communalized state police.
These murders by the killers in uniform are then legitimized and glorified as ‘encounters’. Large sections of our citizenry—Muslims, Kashmiris, peoples from the Northeast, Adivasis and Dalits—are condemned to be ‘encounterable’. These are people who can be killed, and their killings justified and explained through recourse to a warped security discourse. These people exist not in the framework of fundamental human rights but in that of national security alone. The security forces are afforded impunity and immunity as long as they can introduce the “Terror” word. In different parts of the country, Muslim youth are still being arrested and tortured on trumped up charges of links to ‘terrorism’. The large-scale detention of Muslim youth in Karnataka following communal riots in Mysore recently is a case in point of double standards followed by the state police, which is mysteriously soft on hardline Hindutva advocates like Pramod Muthalik who openly advocates attacks on women and members of the Christian and Muslim minorities.
To raise a concerted voice against the culture of encounters, which violates the fundamental rights provided by the Indian Constitution, to demand accountability of state forces, we call upon all those who value Indian democracy to come forward and join the National Day of Protest on August 14 in all parts of the country.
Manisha Sethi (9811625577),
Adeel Mehdi (9990923027), and
Ambarien Al Qadar (9810946273)
for Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA)
Malem Ningthouja (9899925345)
Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Manipur (CPDM)
All India Students’ Association (AISA)
The Other Media
All those who wish to join the protest in New Delhi are requestws to assemble at the ITO Chowk at 3.30 p.m.