Fake encounter killings in Telangana are an outrage against the rule of law say Indian Americans

Killing of five youth while they were handcuffed on their way to court in a police van warrants a judicial probe

April 09, 2015

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos ethos has called the Telangana police killing of five detainees in a transportation van, a fake encounter and a case of “custodial killing.” The five youth with alleged links to Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), were being transported to a Hyderabad court for a hearing. Video footage of the police van given to Amnesty International by a journalist, shows five youth in the van after they were killed. All five were seen handcuffed in the video. The custodial killings are widely seen as revenge for two separate encounters in which fierce gun battles involving alleged members of SIMI with law enforcement in Telangana left four policemen dead.

“The killing of police personnel is condemnable in the strongest possible terms,” stated Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “However, the fact that the state chose to respond with the custodial killing of five handcuffed undertrials in a police van, should send alarm bells ringing for all who care about accountability and the rule of law,” added Mr. Malick.

In a separate incident, 20 suspected sandalwood smugglers were brutally gunned down by the police in Andhra Pradesh, prompting the National Human Rights Commission of India to call it a “serious violation of human rights.”

IAMC has echoed calls by Amnesty International and other civil liberties organizations in India for an independent probe into the Telangana killings. In a statement reported in the media, Abhirr V P, Senior Campaigner at Amnesty International India stated, “Impunity for extrajudicial executions is a serious issue in India. Authorities in Telangana need to urgently conduct an independent criminal investigation into the case to determine if it involved extrajudicial executions disguised as ‘encounter’ killings.”

One of the prisoners gunned down was Viqaruddin who had been framed by the police in the Mecca Masjid bomb blasts in 2007, and was among the 50 people that were later acknowledged as “wrongly arrested.”

This custodial killing is similar to several others that have taken place in recent years, such as Mohammed Qateel in 2012 and Khalid Mujahid in 2013, whose lives were cruelly snuffed out while in police custody or serving time in prison. During Mr. Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat, there were several infamous cases of fake encounters involving victims from the Muslim community. Ishrat Jahan, a 19 year old girl from Mumbai was gunned down by the Gujarat police along with three other men in 2004. The encounter was carried out by disgraced Deputy Inspector General of Police D.G. Vanzara who was also implicated in the fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in 2007.

Vanzara has been released from prison after the Hindu nationalist government of the BJP came to power. In a resignation letter while in prison, he had gone on record stating that fake encounter killings in Gujarat were carried out with full knowledge and sanction of the Gujarat state government, then headed by Mr. Modi as Chief Minister. Forty other policemen accused of fake encounters have been released in Gujarat alone, under the new administration.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation.

For more information, please visit http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295,
Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES
1. Telangana must investigate alleged extrajudicial executions of five Muslims : Amnesty International
http://muslimmirror.com/eng/telangana-must-investigate-alleged-extrajudicial-executions-of-five-muslims-amnesty-international/
2. Telangana cops in soup after Viqaruddin, four others die in “encounter”
http://www.firstpost.com/india/telangana-cops-in-a-soup-after-viqaruddin-four-others-die-in-encounter-2189639.html
3. Another innocent Muslim accused in Burdwan Blast acquitted
http://www.siasat.com/english/news/another-innocent-muslim-accused-burdwan-blast-acquitted
4. Amit Shah acquitted in fake encounter cases
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/gujarat-fake-encounter-cases-deadline-ends-today-cbi-may-not-file-plea-against-shahs-discharge/
5. Controversial Gujarat cop D.G. Vanzara leaves jail, says ‘Achhe Din’ are back
http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/former-gujarat-police-officer-dg-vanzara-walks-out-of-jail-740487
6. Sadiq encounter case: temporary bail to DySP Tarun Barot
http://zeenews.india.com/news/gujarat/sadiq-encounter-case-temporary-bail-to-dysp-tarun-barot_1560032.html
7. INDIA: Remedies to human rights violations a mirage, Asia Human Rights Commission, Feb 27, 2014
http://www.humanrights.asia/news/alrc-news/human-rights-council/hrc25/ALRC-CWS-25-14-2014

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