A fact finding team of Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee comprising Lateef Mohammed Khan, Adv. D. Suresh Kumar, Ashala Srinivas, Kaneez Fathima, Adv. Mandakini, Adv. Greeshma, Adv. Md. Ismail Khan and Charan K.S conducted fact finding from 12th to 14th April 2015 and met the family members of the deceased, visited place of incident, met the police authorities and local people of Aler and surrounding areas as well as journalists who had covered the incident. The team members recorded the statements of all the people to find out the facts as to what actually happened in the Aler police station limits where five under trial prisoners were shot dead by the police personnel of escort party of central prison of Warangal district of Telangana a newly formed state of India.
According to the facts gathered by this team Aler is a town in Nalgonda district of Telangana state and is 77 kms from Hyderabad and 75 km from Warangal. Aler is a rural town and it is famous for Sri Ramachandra Swamy Temple and Jain temple. Aler is connected through road and railway. Aler is a mandal consisting of more than 20 villages. Elected Member of Parliament is Dr. Narsaiah Boora and elected member of Legislative Assembly is Gongidi Sunitha Mahender Reddy and they belong to Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party. Aler police station is in high security zone and one has to go through security check to enter into the police station. The station house officer is headed by sub-inspector of Police P. Raghavender. The Aler highway is a double road and very busy; it connects two districts namely Warangal and Nalgonda.
Facts of the case:
- Fact finding team visited the spot of the incident where the escort police of Warangal central prison shot dead the five Muslim under trial prisoners namely Viqar Ahmed, Syed Amjad, Mohd. Zakir, Dr. Mohd. Haneef and Izhar Khan. The place of offence is a remote place adjacent to sub-way which goes towards Kandigadla Tanda, outskirts of Tangatoor village of Aler police station. The trees on the side of the highway road had numbering by the forest officials and the two trees had 398 & 399 number on it and the bus was stopped exactly on this spot. There is also a pit beside this spot and there were blood stains and broken glass of the bus window pane on the road. The local people said that two side roads were blocked i.e. from Warangal towards Hyderabad and vice versa. They were able to reach only after few hours of the incident.
- As per the police story, “on 7.04.2015 at about 07.55 AM the escort party consisting of RSI Uday Bhaskar and 16 other ranks went to central Prison, Warangal in mini bus No. MP 11/TR E 8217 and took custody of 5 UT prisoners i.e. Md. Jakeer UT No. 1002, Vikar UT o. 1064, Sayed Amjad Ali UT No. 1065, Izar Khan UT No. 1066, Md. Haneef UT No. 1077, to be produced before Honble VII Asst. MSJ Court Nampally, Hyderabad. On the way at about 10.05 hours when the escort vehicle reached out skirts of Tangatur Village UT Prisoner Viqar insisted to stop the vehicle for passing urine, after passing urine and getting into the bus the UT prisoners led Viquar pounced on the police party snatching an INSAS RIFLE by uttering words ‘MAR SALEKU, CHODNA NAHI’, The he opened fire on RSI Uday Bhaskar and party. In self defense police party opened fire resulting in the death of 5 UT prisoners name by Md. Jakeer UT No. 1002, Vikar UT o. 1064, Sayed Amjad Ali UT No. 1065, Izar Khan UT No. 1066, Md. Haneef UT No. 1077.”
- Facts of the Story: As per the sources, on 7th April 2015 two kilometer roads were blocked from two sides. The fact is that all the five deceased under trails were handcuffed and chained to their seats as evident from the images and videos of the encounter site. It seems clear that INSAS rifle was placed on their hands after they were shot dead. Rifles were locked and clean without any blood stains on it. No single police officer was injured in the whole incident and a cross firing scene was created by shattering the windows of the mini bus.
The spot where the encounter took place is deserted jungle area it seems unimaginable that an escort party will stop a vehicle in a deserted road to allow a prisoner to take a natures call. The story painted by the police is illogical to say the least.
The fact finding team met the family members of the deceased and came to know the following details:
- Father of Viqar Ahmed, Mr. Mohd. Ahmed is a civil engineer. He worked in gulf country for many years; presently he has taken off from services and staying in his own house at Malakpet. He has five children, two sons and three daughters. Viqar was the younger son. This family is educated and well settled. His elder son is also a civil engineer. According to his father, Viqar was 34 years of age and got educated up to B.Com. Viqar was a calm and soft spoken person; he was religious in nature and had concern for the community. He used to actively participate in 6th December Rallies organized by DJS. As his father and brother were working in gulf country, Viqar was looking after his female family members while undergoing education in Hyderabad.
Viqar’s father further said that everything was going fine until Makkah Masjid bomb blast happened and then everything changed in their lives. Viqar’s name was implicated in the Makkah Masjid bomb blast case along with other youth. Then police started arresting and torturing Muslim youth. Due to the fear of police Viqar stopped moving out of the house and one day he disappeared. Then in May 2008, he heard his son’s name in the media that police is associating his name with DJS and blaming him for attack on police picket in the revenge of Makkah Masjid police firing on innocent people. Then he came to know that Ahmedabad police registered a case on his son for the conspiracy to kill Modi. Mr. Ahmed said that he is not aware of his son’s involvement in any crime. The cases which were registered against his son in Hyderabad, trial was going on in these cases, and almost 90 percent of trial had been completed and the charges against his son were not proved till then and in about two more months, the trial was to be completed and there were great chances of his son’s acquittal.
Mr. Ahmed also mentioned that whenever he went to see his son in the jail, he always complained about police torture on the way while returning from the court to the Warangal jail. On this, Viqar’s father had given an appeal to the chief justice of High Court to save the life of his son and order the state government to transfer his son from Warangal jail to Hyderabad. Mr. Ahmed also said that the court had given trial dates from 1st to 10th April. And on 6th April, Viqar complained to the Judge that his life is in danger, the escort police party is using abusive language, provocating and beating him. So he requested the Judge to transfer him to Hyderabad. On this the judge accepted his request and posted this matter to hear on 7th April.
Viqar’s father in a very depressed mood said that, “on 7th April my son could not reach the court and his expression of danger to his life became practical; on the other side we were waiting for him at the court and instead of seeing him at the court, we heard the sad news that my son has been brutally killed by the police”. His father rejected the police story and said that, ‘from 1st April, every day the police used to start from Warangal prison at 10 or 11 AM, but on this particular day i.e. on 7th April, the police started at 8am itself from Warangal central prison, this itself speaks volumes about the ill intention of police towards my son to kill him in cold blooded manner’.
Mr. Ahmed also said further that the person whose trial was going to complete and had full confidence on judiciary that justice will be done, why will he try to snatch the gun. There is no possibility of snatching the gun when his right hand is handcuffed and chained to the seat. He further stated that his son was in judicial custody and it was the responsibility of the judiciary to see that his son reaches safely to the court. At least now the judiciary should fulfill its responsibility to provide justice to his son.
- Ishrat Banu wife of Dr. Mohd. Haneef stated that her husband was a practicing doctor and running his own clinic in Warsiguda area of Hyderabad. He is survived by one daughter and two sons. On 11th July 2010, at around 11am, policemen in plain clothes came to his clinic, spread a black cloth on his face and took him away in Tata Sumo. That time he was examining his patients. The woman who was cleaning the floor at the clinic saw this and informed his family. Then the family searched him in all police stations and complained in one police station about this incident. They also gave complaint to the commissioner of police, home minister, SHRC etc. After three days i.e. on 14th July he was produced in Nampally criminal court. When they visited to see him at Cherlapally jail, he was unable to walk and he told them that he was tortured in 3rd degree, police made him drink urine, beat on feel soles etc. Dr. Haneef’s wife said that he was labeled with the charges of anti-national and giving shelter to Viqar Ahmed.
Ishrat Banu further said that they do not know who Viqar is! Her husband used to go to clinic from 10am to 2pm then come back home, spend time with his children and again from 6pm to 10 or 11pm till the patients visit he used to be at the clinic. Most of his patients were non-Muslims, she said. He never attended any procession or any kind of meeting. Even on 6th December he used to go to his clinic and attend the patients. When his family asked him why he does not close the clinic as it is black day, he used to reply that, ‘black day is for the whole world, but what about my patients, if I don’t go to clinic and give them injections they cannot eat food as they are diabetes patients’. Further his wife said, ‘a person who takes care of people’s lives, has been labeled with the conspiracy of killing Modi and put him behind the bars in 2012. Earlier my husband had participated in providing medical relief at Shah Alam relief camp in Ahmedabad after Gujarat genocide in the year 2002’.
She further stated that on 9th March 2015 he was brought to Cherlapally jail of Hyderabad from Ahmedabad and then shifted to Warangal central prison on 11th March 2015 in high security cell. The court had given dates from 1st to 10th April 2015 for trial and during this period they were daily brought and taken back from Warangal to Hyderabad and everyday they were tortured while going back. When they brought them on 6th April, Dr. Haneef had told his family members that he is feeling something danger to his life because of the escort police party attitude. Ishrat Banu also said that she had great hope that her husband would be shifted to Cherlapally jail as they already had told the judge that they have threat to their lives and the judge had also understood the matter.
While weeping she said to us that on 7th April she got to know from the news channels that her husband has been killed by the police and later her lawyer also informed the same. She further said that when they were going to bring the dead body, they were passing through the same way where her husband was shot dead and she wanted to see that place through window but police brought a van in between and ordered the driver to move fast from that place. She also said that till they reached the hospital for her husband’s body, the hospital authorities already had done post mortem without their consent and in a hurried manner the police forced her to sign the papers and moved them from the hospital, the media persons wanted to speak to her but police did not allow them to approach her. Somehow she came along with the body to Hyderabad to perform the last rites; and she said that there were 8 bullet marks on the body, one bullet had pierced from one side of the forehead to the other side, one leg bone was broken, neck and back of the body had torture marks, the back body skin was all torn, and she felt that before killing her husband he might have been tortured severely. She raised the doubt that whether he was shot dead in the bus itself or shot dead somewhere outside and brought and placed him in the bus. She also recollected that once in the court, Viqar had pleaded the judge saying, ‘allegations are on me but the other youth had no connection with me, please leave them’.
The other women who are the relatives of Ishrat Banu said that we had participated in Telangana movement, casted our vote in favour of Narsimha Reddy, TRS candidate from the Musheerabad constituency, who is now Home Minister. But why is he silent spectator today.
- Mohd Zakir was another under tail prisoner in the same case. He was lodged in chanchalguda jail but on 6th April 2015 he was shifted to Warangal prison and on 7th escort police party killed him on the way to Hyderabad. His family doesn’t have any knowledge of shifting of this youth from Hyderabad jail to Warangal jail. His family is from poor background. They are in shock and much afraid and not in a position to speak.
- It is necessary to mention here that in the year 2007, 18th May a terror attack in the form of bomb blast took place at Makkah Masjid at Charminar during the Friday prayers. Many people died in the blast, hundreds got injured and then immediately after the bomb blast another terror act took place i.e. police firing on the innocent people who had come to pray at the Masjid, and who had come to know about their kin after hearing the news of blast and also those were helping the blast victims. Five people died in the blast and many more died and injured in the indiscriminate police firing. Immediately after the blast a section of police officers with the help of mainstream media blamed the Muslim community for the blasts. In this way, three terror attacks took place on Muslim community i.e. bomb terror, police terror and media terror. Muslims were much angry and they were in shock. Muslim’s political and religious leadership failed to fulfill their responsibility at this time of crisis. By taking the advantage of silence by Muslim leadership, police targeted Muslim youth with impunity.
At that time of crisis, Civil liberties monitoring committee conducted a fact finding of the whole incident, exposed the facts and initiated the movement against the greater conspiracy of the police to demoralize and create fear psychosis among the Muslim community by arresting the Muslim youth. Its logical end came with the acquittal of the Muslim youth by the court and apology by the then Andhra Pradesh government as well as compensation and issuance of good character certificate to the youth.
But in fact, it seemed to be the end but not in real sense. On every anniversary of Makkah Masjid bomb blast, if anything happened in the city, it was linked with Viqar. But he never admitted these allegations in the court and he always said that it is a big conspiracy against him in which he is struck badly.
- Role of Police:
The role of police is inhuman and highly objectionable. It is the practice of Hyderabad police to make fictitious stories on Muslim youth and create an image of terrorist. Then on that name they target and arrest large number of Muslim youth. This has become the trend since 1980s. The latest trend was Viqar, he was the target of police to whom other youth were also associated and killed. The fictitious image and story of Viqar was created by the police and media run that story in such a manner that the image of Viqar and the fictitious story was fixed in the minds of the people. Apart from this police also created a story saying Viqar told them that he wanted to avenge police firing on people and also arrest and torture of Muslim youth in the blast case. Now it is in the minds of the people who is the next target of police?
When the escort police shot dead these five under trial prisoners, Aler police registered a case crime no. 35/2015 against the dead youths under section 307 but refused to register a case against the police personnel involved in the killing, under section 302. Those who are approaching Aler police station including the family members of the deceased with a complaint to register a case under section 302 against escort police officers, local police are misguiding, misleading and confusing them but not registering a case on their complaint. Whereas, according to the law police is bound to register an FIR whenever a complaint is lodged in any cognizable offence.
It is pertinent to bring on record that this Committee also made an endeavor to register a FIR against escort police officers by giving a written complaint to Aler PS. But in return SHO Aler PS registered our complaint in the already existing case of crime no. 35/2015 which is actually a 307 case booked against the slain youths. Moreover in the pretext of accepting our complaint SHO also issued a notice under section 160 of CrPC asking us to visit again to record our statement in existing police case, which committee has nothing do with. This is nothing but a bullying tactic by the police against general public to discourage them from setting criminal law into motion against guilty police officers.
We came to know that the station house officer P. Raghavender, SI has previously worked in old city of Hyderabad i.e. at Moghulpura police station and also in special task force and he is posted in Aler PS just six months back.
Here the police instead of working as per the law, entire police personnel of Telangana government came for the defense of killer police gang and using all their sources and mounting pressure on the government of Telangana not to take any action against the police personnel those who are involved in the killing.
- Role of political class:
It is common practice of the political class that they always ignore the arrest, detention, custodial deaths and encounter killings of Muslims. They are always afraid that if they speak out, they will lose their Hindu vote bank and they also think that their contact with the ruling party may become unpleasant. So they carefully take steps in these matters. The discrimination of political class is clearly exposed in this incident of cold blooded murder of five under trial Muslim prisoners. Telangana state is under the rule of TRS party led by K. Chandrasekhar Rao who is also the Chief Minister and Mahmood Ali deputy chief minister of Telangana. These two responsible persons have not opened their mouth till date. This state has become a police state and it seems that Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister have become sub-ordinates to the police personnel. K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Chief Minister of Telangana state who had given assurances to the Muslim community during the Telangana movement, has now turned off his face and playing in the hands of police. The formation of SIT for investigation is a big joke with the community and this G.O. mentions the term “terror operatives”. This itself shows the seriousness of the government towards the investigation of the cold blooded murder of five Muslim under trial prisoners. The gravity of human rights violations can be imagined by seeing the killing of five Muslim prisoners by planting a false story.
The opposition party Congress thought it better to be silent in this matter. When our committee reminded Mr. Digvijay Singh Senior leader of congress party, why the Congress party is maintaining silence in the state of Telangana, he replied that the party has been issued the direction in this issue. But this committee came to know from the senior leaders of congress that Congress does not want to lose Hindu votes by talking on this issue. And now the corporation elections are also nearby. MIM and its alliance MUF are playing very safely and their tone is not so powerful and demanding. They are very submissive to KCR and the people are stun as to why the Muslim political class has become so helpless, weak and bounded that they are unable to built pressure on the government to fulfill the demands.
- Role of Media:
Whoever the Fact finding committee met, all of them expressed their anger on Media and clearly said that media is playing a communal card only to increase the TRP ratings and to attract their Hindu viewers. The victims’ families, the common people of the Muslim community, intellectuals and students of various universities raised the question as to how can the media conduct trial and come on conclusion that a person is a terrorist. Generally now the people are thinking that whenever a Muslim name comes, it is tagged with the term terrorist and it is very easy for the state, police and media to target Muslims by labeling terrorist. Especially Telugu media run the stories and conduct the trial 24×7. The victims’ families clearly said it is only because of this media that we lost our men and in our presence one media person from TV9 came to speak to Viqar’s father but he denied speaking to him and said that, ‘TV9 has destroyed my son’s life, I will never forgive them in my life’.
- Role of Judiciary:
This committee during its fact finding mission met the lawyers and advocates of the under trial prisoners. They said that each time they had pleaded to the courts that their clients have threat to their lives. But judges did not take it seriously. Viqar’s father had submitted a petition to the chief justice of Andhra Pradesh to protect the life of his son and shift him from Warangal to Hyderabad jail. Father said the chief justice of Andhra Pradesh simply ignored this petition. We came to know that on 6th April Viqar himself had submitted an appeal in written form to the court shift him to Hyderabad from Warangal saying his life is in danger and the escort party might kill him any time and the judge had agreed to hear it on 7th April. The family members of the deceased said that if at all the courts had taken this appeal seriously in the starting itself, and then their lives would have been saved. The family members asked this committee that their men were in judicial custody and police killed all these youth, then why the same court did not ask these police men as to where are the men who were in the judicial custody? Why the same court did not order the enquiry/investigation?
The lawyers are trying to approach the High Court asking to conduct enquiry after registering 302 case on the policemen. For this purpose they were going through the earlier judgments of Supreme Court, National Human Rights Commission guidelines on custodial killings, but they found it very strange that no where it is mentioned clearly to register case under section 302 on the policemen involved in the killing. Even the Supreme Court judgment which came in 2014 is very vague.
- The fact finding team observed that the Aler spot is the suitable place for carrying out extra judicial killing operation and the level of impunity has reached to such an extent that it seems to be the Story of encounter given with the intention to let know the general public that the encounter was indeed fake and police can get away with it any time.
- It is clearly observed that conspiracy can be seen behind this killing which was carried out in a well planned manner.
- It seems that the top brass of Telangana police hatched the conspiracy and got permission from the head of the government to execute the plan.
- It is observed that the police started journey from Warangal to Hyderabad at 8am itself, so that they can carry the operation in the early hours; whereas generally they started journey at around 11am.
- The escort police party Chief Uday Bhaskar, Reserve Sub Inspector of Warangal made a statement and registered a complaint at Aler police station, and has many loopholes which clearly indicates that the story is concocted and filmy script.
- Family members had apprehensions from starting itself that their kin are not safe. Even the under trial prisoners mentioned many times orally and in writing that they have threat to their lives.
- These youth were arrested in the year 2010 at Hyderabad with the allegations that they attacked the police personnel in the revenge of Makkah Masjid police firing. But the same youth were implicated in Gujarat cases of conspiracy to kill Modi. This has become a routine matter to implicate the Muslim youth in the conspiracy or anti national cases. Later they are killed in encounter.
- From the family members statements it is clear that the youth were tortured after they were arrested and also tortured while returning back from the court to Warangal central prison.
- The post mortem of the deceased was not conducted according to the NHRC guidelines. As per the family members there were many torture marks all over the body and to hide this, the police in a hurried manner asked the hospital authorities to conduct postmortem as soon as possible.
- We can see the nexus between the different departments of the government in killing the five under trial prisoners and carrying out post mortem.
- The terror operation that started against the Muslim community in the year 2007 it is still continuing. And the Muslim community is under target by the state terrorism, Hindutva terrorism and media terrorism.
- Political parties’ discrimination is clearly visible in the encounter killing of Muslim youth under trial prisoners. The same political parties are condemning the Sesachalam encounter killings but they are hesitating to speak on Aler fake encounter.
- Role of police is completely inhuman, they are misinforming, misguiding the entire civil society and the Aler SHO is misleading the investigation by stating that they have already registered a case under section 307.
- Branding the Muslim youth as Terrorists and killing them in encounter has become common practice of Indian police and particularly Hyderabadi police is more perfect and they have specialization on implicating and killing of Muslim youth.
- Muslim leadership failed to tackle the situation and is saying that all the atrocities and brutalities are happening on Muslims due to the formation of Telangana. It seems that this statement is given to wash off their hands from their responsibilities towards the community.
- Chandrasekhar Rao who is the Chief Minister of Telangana is maintaining silence on the brutal killing of Muslim youth. This silence gives the impression that he was well aware of this cold blooded murder of five under trial Muslim prisoners. It also indicates that he wants to be close with the Modi government and induct his daughter in Modi’s cabinet. That is why these five Muslim youth who had the allegation of conspiracy to kill Modi, are killed.
- The mindset of the state is itself communal, which is visible by the term “terror operatives” used in the G.O. by the Chief Secretary of Telangana government which formed SIT to investigate this issue.
- Every civilized person of the society feel that media is playing irresponsible role and those who are running the media houses do not have journalistic values. All these media are labeling and calling these youth as terrorists, this is a very grave inhuman act as the dead bodies cannot speak and defend themselves. People believe that due to the media trial these five Muslim under trial prisoners lost their lives. Victims’ family members are holding media responsible for cold blooded murder of five Muslim under trial prisoners.
- These five youth were in the judicial custody. Whenever there is a person in Judicial custody it is the responsibility of the judiciary to protect their life, but even after many pleadings to the judge and also sent applications to the chief justice , judiciary failed to protect the under trial prisoners. It was negligence and after the death of these youth, there is no clear direction of Supreme Court as to what case should be registered on the police personnel. This committee strongly feels that judicial procedure system is under impunity.
- Aler police registered a case under section 307 of IPC i.e. attempt to murder against the under trail prisoners who were killed by the escort police party, but not registering the case u/s 302 IPC against police personal who killed these handcuffed and tied with chained under trails prisoners. Common people are saying that how can police registered a case on dead person and how this dead person can defend himself.
Five Muslim youth who were in the judicial custody, hand cuffed and chained were killed by the police ruthlessly and in cold blooded manner while bringing them to the court of law. The story planted by the top brass of police is nothing but a bundle of lies and it appears that high level police officers already planned a conspiracy for the killing of five youths and they have selected these particular under trail prisoners, to send the message to the Muslim community that their lives are based on the mercy of the state. It is a clear act of suppression. In this killing a particular mind set has been emerged in full-fledged manner and it is fascist mindset of state of Telangana government led by K. Chandrashekhar Rao the chief Minister of Telangana state. The Telangana police are working completely under the influence of fascist mindset. By going through the facts and figure It seem that state has given free hands and license to the police to suppress them in the name of fight against terrorism. There is total impunity given on police brutalities in Telangana State.
The cold blooded murder of five Muslim under trail prisoners is actually the target killing and is nothing but political murder and committee has termed it as “Assassination” of five under trail political prisoners. This program of targeted killing without proof of charge or trial violates the constitutional guarantee of due process and it also violates international law. Because of this state sponsored assassination there is unrest found in people belonging to all quarters and they are thinking that “Right to life is in danger and more particular prisoner’s life is on stake.”
The committee holds the chief minister of Telangana morally responsible for the Assassination of five Muslim under trail prisoners and administratively responsible for not fulfilling his responsibility and assurances given during the Telangana movement and election manifesto. Hence the committee demands the resignation of the chief minister Telangana Mr. K. Chandrashekhar Rao.
Prosecution should be launched against those policemen who opened fire on under trail prisoners.
The investigation should be immediately handed over to credible judicial authority.
Lateef Mohammed Khan