The Batla House encounter took place in 2008 following a string of bomb blasts across India. During the shootout, Delhi Police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was killed and two other members of the force grievously injured. The police have been on the lookout for the accused since then. Here’s how the events have played out over the last 13 years, from the blasts to the conviction of the accused.
1) In 2008, serial bomb blasts across the nation, including Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, killed more than 100 people and injured several hundred more, shaking India to its core. The Indian Mujahideen (IM), a militant group, claimed responsibility for some of the attacks in an email sent to Indian media houses. They declared war against the Indian government for its 60-year long persecution of Muslims in the country.
2) IM terrorist Ariz Khan was believed to be the mastermind behind the attacks. A 15 lakh INR reward was offered to anyone who could lead the police to him. An Interpol Red Corner Notice was also issued which seeks the arrest of wanted suspects or convicted criminals.
3) Days after the blasts, the Delhi Police received a tip off about some Indian Mujahideen members hiding out at L-18 Batla House in Jamia Nagar, Delhi. The encounter between Delhi Police-Special Cell and the Indian Mujahideen which ensued left Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma dead and two other officers injured.
4) Among the militant operatives, Mohammed Sajid and chief bomber Atif Amin were killed. Mohammed Saif surrendered to the police while Ariz Khan, Junaid and Shahzad went missing.
2010 – 2011
5) Shahzad was arrested in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. Charges were framed against him under sections 303, 307, 333, 353, 186, and 201 of the Indian Penal code, which covers murder, assault against public servants, conspiracy, and other offences.
6) Saket Sessions court found Shahzad Ahmed guilty of murdering the inspector and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Shortly after, Indian Mujahideen chief, Yasin Bhatkal, was arrested at the India-Nepal border.
7) Ariz Khan was arrested at the India-Nepal border at Banbasa point. He had shifted to Nepal after the shootout and was living under an alias, Salim. Khan had also opened a restaurant and had taken to teaching students.
8) In Nepal, he allegedly met Riyas Bhatkal who instigated him to relaunch Indian Mujahideen. After returning from Saudi Arabia where he had met with some potential recruits, during his attempt to enter India, he was arrested.
9) 3 years later, Ariz Khan is finally convicted of the murder of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and injuring two others. Judge Sandeep Yadav said the evidence provided proved the case beyond any doubt. He will be sentenced on the 15th of March, 2021.
10) For his bravery and sacrifice, Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was awarded the Ashoka Chakra and the President of India’s Medal posthumously in 2009.