All India People’s Forum demands a judicial probe monitored by the Supreme Court into the killing of 8 undertrials near Bhopal by Madhya Pradesh police. Video footage of the incident that has emerged strongly suggests that the ‘encounter’ was staged. The footage shows unarmed men waving their bare hands; it shows no firearms on or near the bodies of the 8 men; it shows police shooting at men lying on the ground inert and prone. The initial statements of the Madhya Pradesh Home Minister admitted that the 8 men were armed with nothing but sharpened spoons, the ATS IG present at the spot also initially confirmed that the undertrials had no long-range weapons, while the police later claimed that the 8 men had firearms and had fired at the police. These mutually contradictory statements also add to conviction that the killing was a fake encounter.
AIPF also demands an enquiry into the alleged escape of the 8 undertrials from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail after killing a policeman.
The 8 men were allegedly members of SIMI – a banned organization – charged with various terror crimes. They were yet to be convicted, however. The Supreme Court has held that mere membership of a banned organization is no crime. We have seen time and again how citizens charged with terror crimes have been proven innocent and acquitted, with Courts commenting on the police foisting false cases on innocent citizens.
These 8 men cannot be declared ‘terrorists’ without being established in the court of law. If these 8 men were indeed ‘terrorists’ as is being alleged, then their crimes should have been proven in Court so that they could be duly punished. Extra-judicial killings are an assault on judicial process and a mockery of the Constitution – a replay of the Gujarat model of ‘encounters’ in Madhya Pradesh.
AIPF demands an impartial, time-bound judicial probe monitored by the Supreme Court, to investigate the facts of the alleged jail break, killing of the police constable as well as the killing of the 8 undertrials. AIPF also demands that the relevant footage of the CCTV cameras of Bhopal Central Jail as well as footage of the ‘encounter’ be made public.
The AIPF also expresses concern about the pattern of massacres and extra judicial killings all over the country, in blatant violation of judicial guidelines and Constitutional values. Another recent cause for concern is the alleged ‘encounter’ in which 39 people – 11 adivasis and 28 Maoists – were killed by paramilitary forces on the Odisha/Andhra border in Malkangiri on 24 October. In keeping with Supreme Court guidelines, an FIR must be registered in this case, an impartial judicial probe conducted and all persons taken into custody produced in Court without delay, as ordered by the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court.
Sunilam , Samajwadi Samagam
Kavita Krishnan, CPI(ML)
Dr. Binayak Sen
SP Udayakumar, PMANE
A Marx, Tamil Nadu
Uday Bhatt, Lal Nishan Party (Leninwadi)
Mangat Ram Pasla, RMP
Master Raghubir Singh, RMP
Gurnam Singh Daud, RMP
Bhim Rao Bansod, Lal Nishan Party (Leninwadi)
Gautam Mody, NTUI
Rajiv Dimri, AICCTU
Kumar Sundaram, CNDP
Panchanan Senapati, Amiya Panda, Manav Jena, Odisha
PC Tewari, Uttarakhand Parivartan Party
Indresh Maikhuri, Uttarakhand
BL Netam, Chhattisgarh
M Shoaib, Advocate (Rihai Manch), UP
Dr Sandeep Pandey
Ram Krishna, Nagrik Parishad
Dr Krishnaavatar, UP
Mohd Salim, UP
Tahira Hasan, UP
Vinod Singh, Jharkhand
Dayamani Barla, Jharkhand
Dr Faisal Anurag, Jharkhand
Meher Engineer, Bengal
Prof Tushar Chakraborty, Bengal
Prof Salil Biswas, Bengal
Advocate Ajoy Dutta, Bengal,
Amlan Bhattacharya, Bengal
Sabyasachi Deb, Bengal,
Abhijit Mazumdar, Bengal
Dr Debashis Dutt, Bengal
Chandramohan, Tamil Nadu
Vidyasagar, Tamil Nadu
Prof. Murali, State Gen.sec. PUCL, Tamil Nadu
Simpson, State Convenor, Liberation Front of Oppressed, Tamil Nadu
Arivalagan, Dalit Research Centre, Tamil Nadu