New Delhi, Dec 21: The issue relating to the Batla House encounter does not seem to die down. The ghost of the Batla House is back again and this time around it finds a mention in the to be released book by former union minister Salman Khurshid.
In the book, The Other Side of the Mountain, he states former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan SIngh had agreed in principle to institute a judicial inquiry to probe whether the encounter was bonafide or not.
The Batla House encounter which was executed by the Special Cell of the Delhi police took place on September 19 2008 at the Jamia Nagar in Delhi after it was found that few terrorists were holed up. In this encounter, the Delhi police lost one of its officers, Mohan Chand Sharma.
The encounter was criticised by a section who termed it as fake. Khurshid writes in his book that the decision to institute an inquiry was postponed due to the Delhi assembly elections.
A recruiting point for the Indian Mujahideen:
It is said that the Indian Mujahideen became stronger after this encounter. Several operatives who were arrested such as the IM's chief Yasin Bhatkal said that they would recruit youth telling them about the Batla House encounter. The point that would be driven was that the Batla House encounter was fake and hence youth must join the IM and take revenge.
The Delhi police claim that the operation was bonafide. They had concrete information that two accused persons in the Delhi serial blasts of September 13 2008 were holed up in that house.
During the encounter, the police also killed Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajid who were accused in the serial blasts. Further the police also arrested Mohammad Saif and Zeeshan on the ground that they had participated in planning the Delhi blasts of 2008.
The Varanasi Blasts:
Following the Batla House encounter, the IM was weakened to a large extent. Key operatives such as Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal and Abdus Subhan fled the country. With the top three out of India, the mantle of rebuilding the outfit fell on Yasin Bhatkal and Assadullah Akthar.
The duo plotted the Varanasi blast and executed the same in 2010. They chose Varanasi considering it was one the holiest cities for Hindus. Moreover the blast took place at the Sheetla Ghat in which a two year old girl was killed.
While the impact was lower in this blast, it was clearly aimed at creating communal tensions so that there would be a major divide leading up more recruitments for the IM.
The Varanasi blast was considered to be both a revenge for the Batla House encounter and also aimed at rebuilding the IM.