No reopening of Batla House encounter case: PC

Digvijay Singh had said in Azamgarh on Wednesday that he always believed that the Batla House encounter was `fake`.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Dismissing Congress leader Digvijay Singh`s claim that the Batla House encounter was ‘fake’, the Home Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday termed the 2008 shootout as genuine.

"After looking into the matter, after I took over as Home Minister, we came to the conclusion that the encounter was a genuine encounter," he said

Addressing the media, Chidambaram was categorical in his comment, “There is no scope for reopening the matter.

The Home Minister was responding to senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh`s remarks in Azamgarh yesterday when he had said that he always believed
that the Batla House encounter was "fake" and had tried to get
government and the Home Ministry to investigate the matter but
could not succeed.

"The Prime Minister and the Home Minister were of the view that the encounter was true. That`s why I did not press it further," Singh had said.

The Home Minister said that it was the view of Digvijay Singh from the very beginning and he (Chidambaram) respected his (Singh`s) view.

But every authority who has looked into it (the case), has agreed that it was a genuine encounter. So, while there is a difference of opinion, I think the matter rests where it stands today. I don`t think there is any scope for reopening
that matter," he said.

The encounter on September 19, 2008, at Batla House led to the killing of Delhi Police Inspector Mohan Chandra Sharma and two Indian Mujahideen terrorist while two other IM terrorists were arrested and another fled from the scene.

Rahul Gandhi faced protests in Azamgarh on the issue of Batla House encounter while on his campaign trail.

Activists of Ulema Council staged demonstrations in front of the Sibli College where Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi was staying.

The activists staged a demonstration, raised slogans and burnt an effigy in front of the Sibli College gate this morning, police said.

"We had already warned that if Rahul comes to Azamgarh without an inquiry into Batla House shootout, he would not be allowed to enter," Ulama Council President Aamir Rashadi said.

The Congress is being accused of double speak from certain quarters on the issue. With the Home Minister and Digvijay Singh speaking in different language the Opposition has got enough ammunition to target the Congress.

Meanwhile, the Opposition demanded that a fresh case be registered in the case and the Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit should be held accountable for the false encounter. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has accused the Congress of raking up the matter at the time of elections.

BJP too hit out at Congress and the government on Batla House encounter, alleging that they were engaged in double speak on the matter.

"If Chidambaram as Home Minister says the Batla House encounter was genuine then how did Digvijay Singh term it fake in the presence of Rahul Gandhi in Azamgarh yesterday?" BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad asked.

He sought to know whom the people should believe on this issue in such a scenario.

"Will Sonia Gandhi and Rahul open their mouth and clarify the issue or will they continue to play vote bank politics over it. The Congress is even courting the terrorists and their families in their bid to do so," Prasad alleged.

"If Digvijay Singh has sought to play with national security, then Sonia Gandhi should ask him to resign immediately from the post of Congress General Secretary or else he should be sacked," Prasad said.

From the events that have unfolded it seems clear that the contentious encounter will always remain an election issue.

With PTI inputs