Having grossed close to 40 crore at the box office, Bollywood hunk John Abraham has returned to the silver screen with Batla House, featuring Mrunal Thakur in the lead. Released on Independence Day it is in direct contest with Akshay Kumar’s sci-fi flick Mission Mangal.
While the film is doing good the Nikkhil Advani directorial, Batla House tries giving an insight into the 2008 encounter relating to the terrorist plot around the Jamia Nagar locale by the same name.
While John plays ACP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, a real life key figure in Delhi Police’s special cell, the film tries to recreate the encounter and the consequent aftermath, as per reports.
To prep up for his role, John Abraham spent time with Special cell DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav in order to understand the incident.
The film in some ways tries to show that the encounter was not fake, while dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Receiving mixed and negative reviews, here is an attempt to understand what really transpired at the Batla House episode in real life.
It all started with five bombs ripping through Delhi at different places which covered GK’s M Block, Connaught Place and Karol Bagh’s Gaffar market.
On the fateful day of Sept 13, 2008, a week ahead of the Batla House encounter about 30 people died and over 100 were injured.
Thankfully 3 bombs were defused in time to avoid massive destruction. These were part of a number of serial pan India blasts witnessed in other places like Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Jaipur.
Following the mayhem, seven cops of the Delhi Police on Sept 19 led by Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma of Special Cell of Delhi police stormed flat– 108, L-18, Batla House, Jamia Nagar alleging a suspected terrorist was hiding.
As one officer went in search for the terrorist, the others blocked all exist of the locality. The cops aping a representative of Vodafone made the first move. Once information was confirmed, Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was given the go.
Wearing the casual attire, Sharma and his men came to the flat eventually leading to a scuffle and gunshots.
Popular folklore was alleged terrorists fired and hence followed a 20 minute encounter.
As per reportage out of five terrorists, two terrorists Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajid were killed. Mohammad Saif was arrested and Shahzad and Junaid escaped.
Among the dead were a minor and a student of the MA Programme in Human Rights.
Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma sustained bullet injuries in encounter only to die.
After the encounter happened there were multiple speculations by journalists and human rights activists that there was massive foul play. Even politicians called it fake.
In a chargesheet against Shahzad, Ariz Khan, Atif Ameen and Mohammed Sajid on 28 April 2010 they were accused of killing Inspector Sharma on 19 September 2008.
Saquib Nisar, a friend of Atif Ameen was arrested. He even confessed of knowing Atif. This led to his arrest for being part of the blast conspiracy.
Even caretaker of the house Abdul Rehman and son Zia Ur Rehman who were also arrested on charges of forging the rent lease agreement and framing the blasts respectively.
After a year passed, the terrorists who escaped was arrested.
After a year, a suspect Shahzad was picked up from Azamgarh in Feb 2010. Even as cops said he was discovered based on a passport recovered from Batla House, the details in response to an RTI had no such mention. The police, blamed sloppy paper work.
The court while failed to find involvement, after three years of trial and 77 witnesses, he was sentenced to life in 2013 with fine of Rs 95,000, accusing him of killing Sharma, attempting to kill other officers and destructing evidence.
As per court it was based on circumstantial evidence, with no direct proof of Shahzad’s presence in the house on that day.
Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association published two books about the alleged framing of the youths by Special Cell of Delhi Police.
In Batla house John Abraham plays Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, then-inspector who is now a DCP posted with Special Cell. Sanjeev Kumar Yadav was under the scanner over charges of a fake encounter.