Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee today expressed its deep concern over the delay of justice to five undertrial Muslim prisoners, who were shot by escort police when they were handcuffed and chained to their seats.
Speaking to the media here on Saturday, the Committee members — senior advocate Prashant Bushan, Lateef Mohammed Khan and Kaneez Fathima — said immediately after the brutal killing, their family members and the Civil Liberties Committee demanded for justice by registering a case under Section 302 IPC against the police personnel for opening fire on the handcuffed prisoners and also demanded probe by a judicial magistrate under Section 176 (1) of Cr.P.C. But the gravity of impunity can be understood by the act of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who ignored the demands. Instead the State registered an “attempt to murder” case against the prisoners, who died in the police firing.
They said later the government issued a G.O. to investigate the action of terror operatives and handed over the so-called investigation to an IPS officer, who attained notoriety for the subsequent police firing after the Makkah Masjid bomb blast in 2007. The family members of the victims and the Civil Liberties Committee also approached the High Court for justice. But in this particular case, the judiciary did not provide any relief to the family members of the deceased prisoners. The High Court rejected the appeal for re-postmortem of bodies and did not even provide family members earlier post mortem reports. The Chief Justice merely read the reports and simply returned the reports to the additional advocate general because he had asked it to be returned back after reading. “The Additional AG many times misguided the court and the court blindly believed him instead of hearing the other side’s version”, they argued.
“The ghastly encounter case is a fit case for a mandatory judicial magistrate enquiry as envisaged in Section 176 (1) of CrPC for every custodial killing. Even for the implementation of the mandatory provision of the law, the victim families had to approach the court. The most disappointing aspect of the whole proceeding was the lack of court proceedings, the writ petitions concerning this encounter in the High Court was not even listed for hearing. Even after a special permission when the matter gets listed it will be posted in the last columns of the cause list so as to never see the light of the day.
The Committee members said they strongly believe that the killing of five under trial prisoners was a “pre-planned act of anti-Muslim Hindutva” group of police officers with pre-approval of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, which is why this committee held K Chandrashekar Rao responsible for the killing and demanded his resignation. They also demanded that the judiciary act immediately and ensure that justice was provided to the victims.
The cases of encounter killings which are pending in the high court should be listed as early as possible and heard on the priority basis as it is a matter of serious civil rights violation which challenges the very essence our constitution stand for. They asked the high court to order for mandatory judicial enquiry under section 176 (1) (A) of CrPC and a case under section 302 should be booked against the policemen involved in the killing of those five Muslim under trial prisoners. (NSS)