From Fact Finding team report (Data Collected during 4th-6th Nov 2016)-
Ansar Indori (National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation), Ashok(Research Scholar – Delhi University), Hisham (Solidarity Youth Movement, Kerala), M H Banna (Senior Journalist, Madhyamam Daily), Salman (TISS Criminal Justice fellow- Working on Rehabilitation of wrongly prosecuted/Innocents), Surya Ghildyal (Research Associate, Quill Foundation), Swati Gupta (Bastar Solidarity Network), Timisha Dadhich (Research Associate, Quill Foundation / MA Criminology and Justice, TISS Student 2nd year), Vipul Kumar (Researcher, Quill Foundation)
Family Background: The deceased Aqueel Khilji’s family has five other members apart from him: a wife, 2 sons and 3 daughters. The family survive on daily wage earned by the sons by doing labour work in their area. Apart from daily wage labour work they manage some extra income through tailoring work. They live in semi-cemented house.
Present Condition: Aqueel Khilji and his family’s psycho-social, economic, and political condition is in an extremely frail state especially because of the many terror allegations that have been levied against them over the last 2 weeks. Different members of the family have been continuously, harassed, picked up and tortured by the police. As the family is not getting any daily work, it is in a state of disintegration. The family points out that most of the allegations are false, as Aqeel had been acquitted in most cases, while a few are undertrial. Most importantly, He was convicted only in one case.
Police torture: According to the family, the police have been continuously harassing them and picking them up for torture. Below are two important incidents narrated by them:
Two months of torture: Jaleel, son of Akeel, went to meet his father in the jail on 20th June 2014. The next day, on 21st June 2014, he was abducted by one of the police agency and kept in illegal custody for two months. During these two months, Jaleel was constantly kept blindfolded while the police officers demanded Rs 40 Lakhs as bribe to free him.Suddenly after two months Jaleel was taken blindfolded and dropped in the middle of an open ground on a sunny day. While both his abduction and release were inexplicable, what Jaleel kept pointing out was the predicament of having been exposed to direct sunlight after two months of being blindfolded. More than that, he did not know where he was, where he had to go and it took him a long time to regain senses and find his way back home. He points out that after the incident he has developed night-blindness in both eyes. The family has lost all hope in their lives. They have only one request- that the police and media stop harassing them and leave them alone.
The abduction on the day of the Encounter: On the day of encounter of Aqeel, his son Jaleel was taken by Anti Terror Squad of Madhya Pradesh claiming that they are from the police department. This happened at around 5 am in the morning before the azaan for the morning prayer. However, two hours after that the MP police came around 7 am searching for Jaleel. The family was evidently shocked as they had no idea of different police agencies and started fearing for his life. Jaleel was illegally abducted by the ATS without following any legal procedure, he was blindfolded all the time and he had no clue where he was taken, but from their conversation he felt that he was at ATS Indore but of course he couldn’t be certain. Hours later Jaleel’s blindfold was only removed in Bhopal, when encounter killing had already been done.
Family Background: Salik had six members in his family, mother Hajra Bee (70 years), elder brother Mohd. Rafik, eldest brother Mohd. Asfak, elder sister Roshan Aara (48 years) and a sister in law (35 years). The family, though educated, is quite impoverished. Salik’s sister in law is a post graduate, while his sister and brothers have completed their education. However, almost all of them do not have any regular employment and end up doing odd jobs. Salik was alleged in a number of cases but has not been convicted in any. Sakil’s brother Asfak was in Madhya Pradesh police department at the time of his arrest.
Present condition: The family is now living in an extremely vulnerable condition, as they are not getting jobs or wages due to the stigma attached. They had to leave their cemented home after the false allegations on Salik and the subsequent social boycott. His brother Asfaq also lost his job. They are presently living in a non-pucca house with very few services. The sister Roshan Aara had to sell her only gold jewelry (3 carat gold ring) to buy this house. Currently, the family is facing extreme stigmatization and poverty, due to the social boycott that took place after what happened with the Salik and his brother Asfak. His sister Roshan Aara (48 years) is working in Anganwadi and getting 5000 a month, sister-in-law, Shamshad (35 years) is M.Com but does not have a job. She is presently teaching UKG and LKG students in a private school and getting only Rs 2000 per month.
Police torture: Salik was first accused in a case in 2006. The very next day, his elder brother Asfaq was fired from his permanent job with the police department of Madhya Pradesh. The official justification provided by the police was that his younger brother is a terrorist, and hence he can’t be in the police department. This has to be considered along with the fact that Salik was not even staying with his family since 2001. The family even tried to submit his rent agreement before the police as proof of the fact. However, all efforts were in vain. On top of it, Asfaq was beaten up by DC Sagar, Superintendent of Police in the police station. The family has been fighting in court to get his job back but they do not have any hope. Three generations of Salik’s family have served the Madhya Pradesh police department. But once the youngest member of the family was alleged in different criminal charges, everything has changed for them. Even though he had little connection with his family, the criminal charge against him has led to complete social and economic boycott. The complete social and economic boycott is reflected in what the family told the FCC about Salik’s body. The family is afraid that if they ask for the body of Salik there will not be a single person to lift it to the burial ground.
Shaikh Mehboob aka Guddu
Family background: Shaikh Mehboob has only two members left in his family: his 86-year-old grandfather and his mother Najma. His mother is presently in custody as she has also been accused in the case of banned organization SIMI. Kallan Shaikh, his grandfather, is living in extremely pitiable conditions. He is suffering from night blindness and living in small kaccha broken house. He doesn’t have basic furniture in his house. He is living at the mercy of his neighbours.
Police torture: Shaikh Kallan was called to the police station at least a hundred times. He was tortured by the police on the day of encounter and his house was ransacked by them without any mercy. He was hesitant about naming the person who framed his grandson and seemed to hate media the most. But the most egregious violence is the fact that Guddu’s mother Najma was not allowed to attend his funeral.
Family Background: The deceased Zakir Hussain has two sisters and three brothers. They are earning their livelihood by supplying sand as laborers in their village.
Police Torture: On the day of encounter, eight policemen in uniform came to their house at 6 am. Zakir’s mother was beaten up by police when she denied having any knowledge about Zakir’s whereabouts. Zakir’s brother Abdullah has been in jail since five and a half years and he is currently 24 years old. His family was continuously harassed by the police and Abdullah is on hunger strike in Bhopal Central Prison. Abdullah was arrested when he was hardly 18, just because he got into an argument with Police while his family was going through routine torture by the authorities. The family is extremely scared and is under severe pressure to not speak to anybody. The family fears that their two sons can be put behind bars anytime. They have also been continuously threatened by local police.
Family Background: Amzad had two brothers and three sisters. His mother is 45 years old and he was the eldest child in the family. He was also barely educated and studied only till standard 5. Amzad’s father is reluctant to talk to anyone about the case. He complains that people come for information and leave but there is not much done to help his child. His health conditions were also affected due to the psychological harassment faced by the family. They are living in semi-pakka house.
Current condition: Since there has been social boycott of the families due to stigmatization, the accused families find it difficult to get married. Thus, they end up getting married among themselves. One sister was married to Ashraf and other to Jaleel. Jaleel is Akeel’s son (another accused).
Police torture: Before the encounter, there was an attempt by ATS Jabalpur to frame Amzad in another case. He was forcefully taken by train and was taken into illegal custody for 25 days a few years back. After the encounter, both Feroz and Jaleel were taken into custody and questioned. They have also been continuously asked by police why they married a girl from a ‘terrorist’s family.
Read the full report here:Bhopal Encounter