Telangana police encounter: What victims’ families have to say

The Indian Express talks to the families of victims killed in Telangana encounter.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala , Ujjwala Nayudu , Manish Sahu | Updated: April 11, 2015 9:30 am
Telangana encounter Alam Miya Khan at a relative’s house in Vatva. (Source: Express photo by Javed Raja)

# A gentle doctor no one knew well

Victim: Mohd Hanif Khan

Alam Miya Khan, 65, refused to go for his son’s burial to Hyderabad. His son, Mohammad Hanif Khan, was killed in the alleged police encounter in Telangana on Tuesday.

Khan’s eldest son, Mehboob, is a constable in Gujarat Police. Hanif, allegedly used to arrange logistics and harboured Vikaruddin in Ahmedabad whenever the Andhra Pradesh Police got hot on his trail.

Hanif left home in 2003 when he 20 years old and never returned to Gujarat. His father says he gave up on him. Hanif’s mother and his youngest brother, Shafiq, went to Hyderabad for Hanif’s burial.

A visibly disturbed Alam Miya says, “Do you believe this theory? That the five terrorists wanted to relieve themselves at the same time. They have been killed in a fake encounter”.

He said the police tried to paint him both as a robber and terrorist. “He can either be a robber or a terrorist who wanted to kill Modi, not both,” he added. “He was not a terrorist out to kill Modi”.

Hanif grew up in the chawls of Bapunagar and practised Unani for three years before moving to Hyderabad, earning him the nickname, “Doctor”. Alam Miya had opened a small clinic for Hanif in Bapunagar at Morari Chowk. Hanif and his brothers studied at Jeevan Sadhna, a small school in Bapunagar.

“My sons grew up in the chawls of Bapunagar, but never picked up bad habits. Hanif was bright in studies, so I advised him to learn Unani,” a teary-eyed Alam said. However, in Bapunagar, Hanif is regarded as a local hoodlum and a bootlegger.

Everything changed after Hanif got married to a Telugu Muslim girl and migrated to Hyderabad 12 years ago, Alam said. “She (does not name her) pushed him to migrate to Hyderabad, her hometown. He told us he will practice Unani there. We cut off from him and he never bothered about us,” said Alam.

Hanif’s wife, Ishrat Begum, however, gives a different account of their lives post marriage. According to her, they fled Ahmedabad along with their daughter after the 2002 riots since they feared for their lives.

Ishrat says Khan was a Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery from Ahmedabad and had a thriving practice in Bapunagar.

Ishrat, the daughter of a transport contractor living at Kaladhar Nagar in Mushirabad, and Hanif were brought together by a family friend who suggested the match. “We were reluctant to send her that far, but reports about the doctor were good,” says Nawabmiya Khan, her uncle.

Nawabmiya said Vikaruddin had visited Hanif’s clinic often as he was unwell at that time and on such one visit the policemen took both of them away.

Ishrat says that she last spoke with her husband on March 31. She said Hanif had insisted he knew Vikaruddin only as a patient. “That was my last conversation. I was hoping to shift back to Ahmedabad once he got out. My in-laws, mother and brothers were supporting us so far. But with my husband no more, I do not know what will become of us,’’ Ishrat said.

# ‘Our boy framed, murdered’

Victim: Mohammed Izhar Khan

Telangana encounter Outside Mohd Izhar Khan’s house in Lucknow.

The family of Mohammad Izhar Khan, who was killed in the alleged encounter in Telangana on Tuesday, has decided to move court seeking an investigation into the police firing. They insist it was a planned murder.

Izhar, a bachelor, was a property dealer before he was held on terror charges in 2010 from Lucknow. Four cases were slapped on him — two each in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad — and he was accused of supplying a pistol to alleged SIMI man, Vikaruddin.

It was alleged that Vikaruddin had used this weapon in two incidents each of murder and attempt to murder. He was acquitted in one of the cases of attempt to murder filed in Ahmedabad, confirmed his lawyer Sheikh Saifullah Khaleed.

Izhar’s family, however, say that he was framed. “Izhar had no criminal case against him before he was arrested by the Ahmedabad police in 2010. He was implicated in false cases by the Ahmedabad and Hyderabad police. Izhar had no connection with the SIMI ever,” said his brother, Mohammad Anwar, who returned from Saudi Arabia a few months ago.

Anwar said he had visited Izhar in Warangal jail after his return. The family had hired lawyers in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad for fighting his cases, Anwar added.

Izhar’s elder sister, Rukhsana, said, “Izhar has been murdered by police.” “Anyone can visit our house and see our financial condition. Izhar could not even attend the last rites of his father,” added Rukhsana.

Izhar, a graduate of Vidyant Degree College, had been the vice-president of its students’ union, said his nephew, Wasi Ahmed. He added that Izhar had applied for admission in a law course before he was arrested.

“Izhar was booked in three other cases, including two in Hyderabad, while he was in Ahmedabad jail. Izhar was shifted to Hyderabad to face the trial. He and the others were kept at Warangal jail and they had to travel 120 km to attend the court hearing,” said his lawyer Khaleed.

The family is yet to decide who will go to Telangana to receive the body. They are waiting for Izhar’s eldest brother, Zia-us-Shams, who is expected to reach Lucknow by Wednesday evening.

The family was told about Izhar’s death by a constable from Aminabad police station. They were handed a copy of the fax sent by Telangana police confirming the death.

Izhar’s three brothers — Zia-us-Shams, Mohammad Anwar and Mohammad Tanveer — are employed in Saudi Arabia, while his mother, Najma Begum, stays with their wives and children. Izhar’s father, Shamsuddin Ahmed, died in 2013.

# ‘Would have accepted death verdict, not illegal killing’

Victim: Vikaruddin Ahmed

Telangana encounter Mohammed Ahmad (left) at his Hyderabad home.

A day after the burial of Vikaruddin Ahmed, his father, Mohammed Ahmad, 60, cannot stop thinking of the events preceding his son’s death in the alleged encounter.

Ahmad said his lawyers were confident his son would be acquitted as the police could not prove the charges against the five of them.

“On April 6, Vikaruddin had petitioned the court for a transfer from Warangal jail to Hyderabad. He was scared the police would conduct a fake encounter. The court order about their transfer was due on April 7 at 1.30 pm, but they never reached the court. The police killed them in cold-blood and they were still handcuffed. That is what hurts. If the court had sentenced him to death, I would have accepted it, but the police chose to deliver the punishment,” said Ahmad at his home in Old Malakpet, Hyderabad.

The family was financially comfortable with Ahmad and his elder son, Iqbal, working in Saudi Arabia as construction engineers. “Vikar and his mother lived here. We were happy. He left home in August or September 2008 saying that was going to Delhi for a job interview. I realised much later it was all rubbish,” said Ahmad. He said Vikaruddin was afraid that he would be picked up in connection with the Mecca Masjid blast by the police.

“He mixed with Darsgah-e-Jihad-o-Shahadath  and used to attend meetings there. Our family never supported such organisations and I am happy that Vikar did not join any other organisation that exists in India. I do not know how he ended up being labelled a terrorist,’’ Ahmad said.

After Vikaruddin’s arrest in July 2010, Ahmad quit his job and returned home. “He was a good boy and was doing B.Com. I don’t know why he never spoke to anyone in the family. A year later, I found out that he was living close by, but he never bothered to contact us. It was heartbreaking to see his name flashed on TV saying that he had killed policemen,” Ahmad said.

He said he saw his son again only after he was arrested two years later. By that time Vikaruddin had gained notoriety as a dreaded terrorist.

Ahmad saw his son last on March 15. “He was practising yoga in jail to keep healthy and asked me for some books. I will petition the courts and police that an inquiry should be conducted and those who were involved in this murder should be brought to justice.’’

There were 11 cases against Vikaruddin, including shooting at a home guard and injuring a constable near Falaknuma on May 18, 2009.

# ‘One day he just left, we had no clue what he was up to’

Victim: Syed Amjad Ali

Telangana encounter Amjad’s younger brother, Syed Imtiaz Ali.

Hyderabad: Sixty-seven-year-old Syed Ashraf Ali’s health took a turn for the worse when his son Syed Amjad Ali “drifted away from home” and was later jailed. His family says he started suffering from frequent memory lapses. Then on April 7 came the news that the 28-year-old had been shot dead by the Warangal police.

Amjad’s family is not sure whether he and his first cousin, Vikaruddin Ahmed, went over to the “other side” together, or one pulled the other in. But it was Amjad’s quiet detachment from his life as an embroidery designer in 2006 that plunged the family into turmoil.

“One day he just left home. We had no clue what he was up to before he was arrested in July 2010,’’ said Amjad’s younger brother, Syed Imtiaz Ali. “Every few months we heard that he was working somewhere, mostly as a designer, but for four years we had no contact with him. Two policemen came and informed us when he was arrested’’.

Amjad’s legal expenses have taken a toll on the family’s finances as well. Ashraf Ali had to sell his house in Moin Baug in Santosh Nagar and move with the family to Yaseen Manzil in Hyderabad.

“He (Amjad), like Vikar, had told the court recently that he feared for his life, especially after they were shifted to the Warangal prison,’’ Imtiaz said.

There are several unanswered questions about Amjad. For one, the family never tried to contact him. And from what his brothers say it appears that their father already knew that Amjad had gone “astray”. The family rarely met him at Cherlapally Central Prison in Hyderabad where he was lodged. The last time his brothers met him was on March 7 when he was brought back from Gujarat after a court hearing in the shooting of a constable during a bank robbery.

# Fifth Family Untraceable

The family of Mohammed Zakir, the fifth man killed in the Telangana police firing, could not be traced.  They had moved away from the location about a year ago and did not register the new address with the police. Zakir was a resident of Warsiguda in Secunderabad.

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