Home minister rejects Digvijaya’s claim

Former home minister rejects Digvijaya’s claim on Batla House shootout

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Rejecting Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s stance on the 2008 Batla House gunfight being a ‘fake encounter’, former home minister Shivraj Patil on Wednesday said that the encounter was genuine.

“Have I changed my stand? I have said in past that the encounter wasn’t fake. That means information which was given to the home minister and the home ministry by the police who were actually involved in the encounter was relied upon, and it was said that it was an ‘encounter’,” Patil told a TV channel.

“And not only that, a policeman (Mohan Chand Sharma) was also killed. The man who had gone to take action against the terrorists was killed. How can one say that it was not an encounter?” Patil added.

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Tuesday stuck to his earlier stance that the 2008 Batla House gunfight, in which two suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists were killed, was “fake” even as video footage telecast on a TV channel claimed that a suspect Bada Sajid was seen in an “IS video”.

Asked about the senior Congress leader’s remark on the encounter, Patil said: “I don’t want to comment on what he should have done and he should not have done. I am only saying that on the basis of the information available to me, we had come to the conclusion that it was an encounter.

“If he had come to me I would have spoken to him. You can’t take a stand of the Congress party on the basis of the statement made by one member. If a member of any other party makes a statement, should we say that is the stand of the party,” Patil further asked.

The Batla House gunfight took place a week after five serial blasts in Delhi on September 13, 2008 in which at least 30 people were killed and over 100 injured.

The issue of an alleged “fake encounter” was also used politically chiefly by the Samajwadi Party and the Congress.

Seven Delhi police personnel had stormed an apartment building in Batla House in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar where Indian Mujahideen terrorists were allegedly hiding.

Two suspected terrorists were shot dead while one named Shahzad was arrested and a fourth reportedly managed to escape.

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