Muslim man serving life in Batla house case dies of illness at 33

Shehzad Ahmad, convicted in the ‘2008 Batla House encounter case’ for murdering Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and assaulting other officers, died during treatment at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Saturday.

Shehzad was 33.

According to Delhi Police, Shehzad, an Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh resident, was serving a life sentence in multiple cases registered in Delhi and Bengaluru. He was first lodged in Tihar jail on February 6, 2010. He was transferred to Central Jail Mandoli, Delhi, on July 7, 2022, from Tihar.

The 33-year-old breathed his last weeks after he was admitted to Delhi’s GTB Hospital on December 8, 2022, for a diagnosis of gall bladder stone-induced acute necrotizing pancreatitis with modified crsi 10/10″ and referred to Safdarjung Hospital on December 27, 2022, thereafter again he was referred to AIIMS hospital on January 11, ANI news agency reported.

The Batla House case was an armed Delhi Police operation to arrest Muslim men whom the police called “terrorists of the Indian outfit Indian Mujahideen, hiding in a flat in the Batla House area of Jamia Nagar,” Okhla, on 19 September 2008. The operation resulted in the deaths of two Muslim students Atif Amin and Mohammad Sajid, who were the students of Jamia Millia Islamia, and one police officer, Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, with the remaining Muslim men, arrested.

The incident occurred a week after five serial blasts on 13 September 2008 that hit Delhi, in which at least 30 people were killed and over 100 injured.

On 15 February 2011, Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar framed charges against accused Shehzad Ahmad for the offenses of murder (Section 302), attempt to murder (Section 307), section 333 (causing hurt to public servant), 353 (assault to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of his public functions) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code, besides section 27 of the Arms Act for his role in the ‘encounter.’

In 2013, Shehzad’s sister had said that her brother was falsely implicated, and vowed to fight for justice by appealing to the supreme court.

Many civil-rights movements and organisations claimed that the Batla House 2008 incident was a ‘fake encounter’ to terrorize and witch-hunt Muslims.

On the Delhi High Court’s directive on 21 May 2009, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in its 22 July report cleared the police of any violations of rights.

PUDR (Peoples’ Union for Democratic Rights), PUCL (Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties), Jan Hastakshep, APCR (Association for the Protection of Civil Rights), Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association (JTSA), and FDI (Forum for Democratic Initiatives) had conducted the fact-finding surveys and documented the reality to expose the police narratives.