The propensity among secular political parties like Congress to doubt the integrity and honesty of the country’s soldiers and policemen while neutralising terrorists and anti-national forces have come in for attack from their own ilk. A former civil servant who rose in the cadre and served as the lieutenant governor of Delhi has come out in the open lambasting the Congress leaders for questioning the authenticity of the Batla House shoot out of 19 September 2008 which saw the martyrdom of Mohan Chand Sharma, an inspector of Delhi Police and the killing of two Indian Mujahideen terrorists.
A team of Delhi Police which had received intelligence input that the IM terrorists who masterminded the five serial blasts on 13 September 2008 in the national capital that resulted in the death of 30 persons and maiming of more than 100 persons were hiding in an apartment in Batla House surrounded the building on 19 September masquerading as employees of a mobile phone service company. The terrorists who found that they were trapped fired a volley of shots which claimed the life of inspector Sharma. In the ensuing shootout, two IM terrorists were killed, two escaped in the melee while one person present in the flat surrendered to the police.
It was the terrorists who fired first and it claimed the life of Sharma. The shootout happened while the then union home minister Shivraj Patil was chairing a security review meeting at the Delhi Police Headquarters, reminiscences Tejendra Khanna, the then lieutenant governor of Delhi in his memoirs “An Intent To Serve; A Civil Servant Remembers” to be released on May 12. Interestingly, Khanna was a favourite bureaucrat of the Congress leaders and was appointed Lieutenant Governor of New Delhi at the instance of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Tejendra Khanna is highly critical of certain politicians fishing in troubled waters and appeasing the minorities by questioning the action of law enforcement agencies which work round-the-clock to make life safe for the citizens. The doubts cast by them over the authenticity of the action of cops aggravate further the fear psychosis in the minds of minority communities.
Khanna says that after the encounter, some senior politicians, with a desire to earn the goodwill of the Muslim community started demanding that a judicial enquiry be conducted into the incident. “The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal to ascertain the facts of the situation from me,” Khanna writes.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh was at the forefront of questioning the authenticity of the Batla shoot-out and had even demanded a judicial probe into the incident. “It was a fake encounter and the police had no business going to that residential area. A judicial probe should be ordered into the fake encounter and the accused cops should be punished.” Digvijaya Singh had said.
The two who escaped from the police net on September 19 were arrested later and after trial, both were sentenced. One of the accused was sentenced to capital punishment and this put to rest the allegations that the encounter had been staged.
The shoot-out with the IM was the plot of the 2019 movie Batla House starring John Abraham and directed by Nikkhil Advani which was a major success at the box office. The movie was about the stage-managed uproar following the police’s high-handedness against terrorists. Many political leaders and self-styled human rights activists were seen condemning the police action in killing “innocent Muslim boys” whereas in real life the Batla House region was a haven for Islamic terrorists.
While Khanna is unequivocal in his stance on the Batla House incident, he has chosen to stay off the Common Wealth Games 2010 of which he was the organizing committee chairman in lieu of his position as the Lieutenant Governor. He says that the Common Wealth Games 2010 was organized in an immaculate manner and it earned global appreciation, he is silent about the series of corruptions and scams that shook the nation. Though he has articulated the run-up to the games and the speed with which the facilities were built, Khanna has not mentioned anything about the arrest and ten months-long incarcerations of Suresh Kalmadi in connection with the irregularities in the allocation of the CWG contracts.