Batla House encounter genuine?
OT, April 18, 2012 11:09 IST
When self-proclaimed local leader Amanatullah Khan floated the idea of terror accused Zia-Ur-Rehman contesting the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) election 2012 from Zakir Nagar ward number 205, some residents opposed it. They requested him to drop it. But Khan argued that a win would mean a ‘referendum' on Batla House encounter.
Immediately his idea was backed by Okhla MLA Asif Md Khan, who since winning his seat has done little for the locality save decking up his office at Kalindi Kunj with exotic birds, dogs and plants. For Asif it was an opportunity to challenge sitting Congress councilor Shoeb Danish in his bastion.
Asif knew that a win would increase Danish stock in the locality and hence he made an all-out effort to finish his competitor politically. For Asif, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) alumnus Danish was a bigger threat to him in the Assembly election in 2013 than Amantullah Khan. Keeping their differences aside, they shook hands. Asif dumped his other proxy candidate Wasim Ghazi, a businessman, who is obsessed with politics, but until now has not won in any election.
The move sparked debate in the locality with some supporting it and others opposing it. A senior leader of the newly-formed Welfare Party of India (WPI) too was in two minds over the sensitive issue. His argument was what if tomorrow Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur also contests election. “Will we not oppose her candidacy?”
Legal help not politics
Even before the election had taken place, Ameeque had raised the fear that what message will go if Rahman was defeated. “Even if he wins, the message would not be positive.” Also, he had said that the issue was so emotional that many educated Muslim youth would get carried away. An appeal for supporting Rahman’s candidacy was also posted in Jamia Millia Alumni Directory, a non-political forum.
L18 shootout genuine?
Kamal, who gave only one name, wrote to OKHLA TIMES in Hindi and I translate: “This is not defeat of Rahman but of the Muslims of Batla House. And today we have proved that Batla House encounter was real. Rahman is also a Jamia alumnus. The fact is that the election was fought on the ground that Batla House encounter was fake. By electing a Congress candidate, our people have sent a message that the encounter was real and Congress policies of terrorizing the Muslims are right.”
So has the leadership failed the community or has the community turned out to be disloyal?
The number game
It was a tough fight for Danish. As long as counting of Muslim dominated areas like Batla House, Zakir Nagar and Joga Bai continued, Danish was trailing. In all these areas women empathized with Rahman’s 63-year-old father Abdur Rahman, his mother and sister, who had launched door-to-door campaign to garner residents support. And it worked well in their support. In some cases, women members even pressurized their males to vote for Rahman.
Social activist Hamid Ali said: “The group got highly confident and they thought they would single-handedly swing the votes. Had they approached other groups also the result would have been different.”
He said Rahman lost because Asif backed him. “There were many people in Jamia Nagar who had raised the Batla House issue. But at the end of the day it was Asif who got the cake and ate it himself. May I ask you what has Asif done in the last three years? People are unhappy with Asif as he had one nothing for the locality.”
But the silver lining in the dark cloud for many anti-Congress supporters is the defeat of Engineer Jamaluddin’s wife from ward number 206. She came second to Ishrat Beghum of SP who bagged more than 8000 votes.
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