13 years after the infamous Batla House encounter, in which the Delhi Police’s special cell hunted down Islamist terrorists responsible for a series of serial bomb blasts which shook the nation between 2005 and 2008, Ariz Khan – Indian Mujahideen terrorist who killed super cop inspector Mohan Chand Sharma has been convicted by a Delhi court. For over a decade now, liberals, political parties and vested interest groups have tried to paint the Batla House encounter as ‘fake’, carried out by the supremacist ‘Hindu’ state with the sole intent of hunting down innocent Muslims.
For 13 long years, Hindus have been projected as bigger criminals than those who actually bombed India’s length and breadth between 2005 and 2008. From calling the Batla House encounter ‘fake’ to Sonia Gandhi crying seeing the mere visuals of it, Ariz Khan’s conviction exposes it all. While pronouncing Khan guilty, additional sessions judge Sandeep Yadav ruled, “The evidence adduced on record by the prosecution leaves no matter of doubt that the prosecution has proved the case beyond all reasonable doubt and that the accused is liable to be convicted.”
The pronouncement of Khan’s sentence will be done on March 15. “It has been proved that the accused Ariz Khan along with his associate voluntarily caused grievous hurt to public servants. The accused intentionally and voluntarily caused murder of Inspector MC Sharma by use of gun shot,” the judge added.
Ariz Khan had been arrested by Delhi Police’s special cell after a hunt of 10 years, in 2018, from Uttarakhand’s Banbasa, bordering Nepal. According to the police, Khan had acquired a Nepali citizenship card and passport under the assumed identity, ‘Mohammad Salim’.
Ariz Khan has been convicted under sections 302, 307, 333 and 353 (which deal with assault or grievous hurt to a public servant in the discharge of his duty), 186 (which has provisions of punishment for people who prevent a public servant from discharging their duties), 34 and 174A of the Indian penal Code (IPC) as well as Section 27 of the Arms Act (which provides for a jail sentence to those who are found in possession of arms illegally).
The NIA had found, during the course of their investigation, that Ariz Khan was involved in almost all major blasts that shook the country between 2005 and 2008. According to the agency, Khan was part of the serial blasts at Delhi (2005), Varanasi (2006), Uttar Pradesh (2007), Jaipur (2008) and Delhi again in 2008. NIA charged him in September 2014. When he was arrested in 2018, he was working to revive IM. He was in touch with IM co-founder Riyaz Bhatkal and also went to Saudi Arabia to collect funds for the revival of the Indian Mujahideen.
After the 2008 serial blasts that rocked the national capital, a special team, under the supervision of encounter-specialist Inspector M.C. Sharma was formed to trace those involved. On 19 September 2008, an encounter took place at L-18 Batla House in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar between a raiding team of Delhi Police Special Cell and the IM terrorists responsible for the blasts. Inspector Sharma was leading the Delhi Police team and got grievously injured as the terrorists opened fire. Sharma was not equipped with a bulletproof jacket, which is another issue of the then government’s apathy towards India’s security forces.
The Batla House encounter saga is finally nearing closure, and those who wished to project the incident as part of a larger conspiracy of the Indian state to victimise innocent Muslims have ended up with nothing but a load of pie on their face.