‘Calls for magisterial enquiry report into the 2006 Sonia Vihar encounter to be made public.’ Following is the Text of Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA)’s letter sent to the NHRC on 21st August 2014.
Justice K. G. Balakrishnan,
National Human Rights Commission
Manav Adhikar Bhavan
New Delhi 110023.
We would like to draw your attention to news reports about the encounter killing of Firoz alias Fauzi by the Delhi Police on 19 August (Tuesday) on Pushta Road, which falls under the Sonia Vihar Police Station. The Police version of the events leading up to the encounter is in fact a familiar one to anyone who has cared to read the FIRs filed in any encounter killing. In a press statement, the DCP of the Special Cell, Mr. Sanjeev Yadav, has stated: “ A shot fired by Fauzi hit inspector Shiv Kumar on his bullet proof jacket and another hit the Gyspsy. The police party fired back in self defence. Fauzi sustained bullet injuries and was moved to GTB hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.”
An examination of any FIR – from the killing of Gulam Yazdani at Holambi Kalan in 2006; even the original FIR in the killing of two businessmen in Connaught Place in 1997; Swarna Jayanti Park encounter in 2006 to the earlier Sonia Vihar encounter of 2006 – will reveal that a common template is employed in all these cases. There is of course, first the receipt of secret information about a gangster/ terrorist, followed by his interception, his attempt to escape by firing upon the police party and his death in retaliatory firing. Not only are these FIRs more or less identical, the ‘heroes’ of these encounters consistent over the last years collecting awards and promotions; even the sites of these encounter killings are often common.
SONIA VIHAR: A favourite haunt of encounter specialists
Sir, you will recall that in 2012, NHRC had ordered an enquiry into the 2006 Sonia Vihar encounter. It concluded that the encounter was fake, prompting the initiation of a magisterial probe. The probe was conducted by the then Divisional Commissioner, Revenue Department (Govt. of NCT, Delhi). According to replies received by JTSA in response to its RTI applications, the magisterial probe had concurred with the NHRC’c conclusions and asked for a fuller CBI probe into the encounter. However, there is no news yet of whether the CBI probe has been granted and initiated. Through this letter, we appeal to you to make public both the NHRC enquiry report as well as the magisterial enquiry report of the 2006 Sonia Vihar encounter.
ENSURE that the NHRC guidelines on Encounter Killings are followed
The most recent encounter killing of Fauzi has all the markings of a fake encounter. The family claims that both Fauzi and his wife went missing in late July. Thereafter, news reports about Fauji’s arrest surfaced at least three days before the alleged encounter. This surely calls for a deeper probe.
We urge you to ensure that the NHRC guidelines on encounter killings are followed. The guidelines clearly state: “when information is received that death was caused in an encounter as a result of firing by the police, prima facie the ingredients of culpable homicide under section 299 of the IPC are satisfied. That is sufficient to suspect that an offence of culpable homicide has been committed.”
Further, the guidelines state require that “Whenever a specific complaint is made against the police alleging commission of a criminal act on their part, which makes out a cognisable case of culpable homicide, an FIR to this effect must be registered under appropriate sections of the I.P.C. Such case shall invariably be investigated by State CBCID.” The NHRC guidelines also unambiguously require that a “Magisterial Inquiry must invariably be held in all cases of death which occur in the course of police action. The next of kin of the deceased must invariably be associated in such inquiry.”
We sincerely appeal to you to ensure that your guidelines are not flouted.
Where is Fauzi’s wife?
News reports also suggest that Fauzi’s wife went missing with him some days before the said encounter, and the family learning of the encounter assumed that his wife had been killed alongside. However, when they went to the police station to receive the bodies, they were informed that she was in the custody of Special Cell. This is a very grave matter. Under what sections has she been held in the Special Cell police station? NHRC must move immediately to ensure her safety and wellbeing. If indeed, the Special Cell has detained her, those who have held her illegally must be prosecuted.
We sincerely hope that the National Human Rights Commission will take immediate cognizance of these serious developments and move with urgency to ensure not only the safety of Fauzi’s wife but also an end to impunity of the Special Cell. To reiterate, Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association appeals to you to:
1) Ensure that a magisterial enquiry is ordered into the Fauzi encounter killing;
2) Initiate NHRC’s own enquiry into the encounter killing, especially in the light of earlier reports of Fauzi’s arrest;
3) Ensure the safe release of Fauzi’s wife
4) Make public the NHRC enquiry report and the magisterial enquiry report into the Sonia Vihar encounter killing of 2006.
Dr. Manisha Sethi, Dr. Sanghamitra Misra, Ahmed Sohaib, Adil Mehdi, Dr. Tanweer Fazal, Prof. Ghazi Shahnawaz, Ambarien Alqadr, Prof. M.S. Bhat, Mona Das, Dr. Nabanipa Bhattacharya, Dr. Rahul Govind, Dr. Manoj Jena, Faizullah, Ghazala Jameel, Mansi Sharma and others for Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association.