Aler Encounter: Mohammed Viqaruddin was made to pay with his life for being a devout Muslim, alleges family

On April 7 2015, five people accused in the murder of two policemen were killed in an encounter in Aler, Nalgonda after the police allegedly shot all of them in ‘self-defence’. Like most cases of police encounters, this too remain shrouded in mystery and a year later, the families’ questions remain unanswered; their pleas unheard. In the Second part of the series, Raqib Hameed Naik speaks to the family of one of the deceased, Mohammed Viqaruddin.

Mallakpet (Hyderabad): For Mohammed Ahmed 67, a retired civil engineer from Saudi Arabia, receiving his son, an under trial lodged in Warangal Prison, in a body bag was an experience he wished he never had; yet a sad reality. After all, he was anticipating his son release on bail in the following weeks, but the fate took a treacherous turn.

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On April 7th, 2015, Ahmed had been home in Mallakpet, reading and turning pages of a local newspaper. Little did he knew that the newspapers to be published on the following day would carry news about his son who was gunned down, as claimed by Police, in exchange of fire while trying to snatch a gun.

As the hour needle of clock touched 10 in the morning, Ahmed received a desperate phone call from one of his relative who asked him to turn on the news channel. He tuned to one, the news flashing on TV screen, almost gave him a shock, descending into gloom among the family members present in the house.

His 33-year-old son Mohammed Viqaruddin Ahmed, along with four others under trials were gunned down by police team escorting them while they were being brought to Hyderabad trial court from Warangal Prison in a Police bus on the morning of April 7.

Mohammed Viqaruddin Ahmed

Mohammed Viqaruddin Ahmed

As per Police claims, on the way Viqaruddin had asked to stop the vehicle for nature’s call. He got off the bus along with the escort staff and as he boarded the bus after relieving himself, the Police claimed, he tried to snatch INSAS rifle from policemen and tried to flee which led police to open fire, killing all the five youths on spot.

For Viqar’s family, the police claim was hard to believe as they were apprehensive about his safety till the day of encounter, as he used to tell them about the police torture and their conspiracy to kill him, since the day of his arrest.

Back in April 2012, Viqar had complained to his father about the frequent beatings, when police escort used to bring him from Warangal Prison to Hyderabad Court for hearing. Fearing for the worst, his father had sent a letter to Chief Justice of then united Andhra Pradesh and chairman of AP State Human Rights Commissions seeking their intervention in transfer of his son from
Warangal Prison to any other prison in Andhra Pradesh (AP).


Letter written by Viqar’s father to Chief Justice.

“I had visited Central prison Warangal to meet my son, where he told me that the escort who brings him to Hyderabad court is torturing him very badly and there is every possibility of him being killed y the escort, by plotting artificial encounter, saying Viqar was escaping,” reads the
contents of letter.

While recalling his meeting with his son in prison back in 2012, he said, “My son was very scared those days. When I visited him in prison, he told me that, on the way from Prison to Hyderabad Court and back to prison, policemen used to falsely accuse him of abusing them and thereafter policemen used to beat him mercilessly. ”

“Sometimes they (policemen) used to remove his hand cuffs and would ask him to run but my son didn’t, because he knew that it was just a ploy to kill him in fake encounter,” he adds.

Sadiqa Begum, Viqar’s mother, a septuagenarian, remembers her son as a pious Muslim, praying five times a day and pursuing his Bachelors in Commerce by correspondence mode. But Mecca Masjid blast turned his normal life upside down.

“Viqar’s name was implicated with other innocent Muslim boys in Mecca Masjid blast blast case. As these boys were arrested and tortured by the police, my son went underground in late 2007,” recalls Sadiqa Begum.

Everything changed for him and his family, after he was arrested by the Andhra Pradesh police in July 2010 from Mushirabad area of Hyderabad for killing two policemen and later on he was charged under more cases.

Importantly, AP Police had accused him of being a member of alleged fundamentalist outfit, Darsgah Jihad-O-Shahadat (DJS) and later forming a self styled Tehreek Ghalba-e-Islam to carry out attacks on policemen in different states and tagged him as mastermind of sensational attacks on policemen in different parts of Hyderabad between 2008 and 2010.

The AP Police further claimed that he wanted to avenge police firing on people staging a protest following the Makkah Masjid blast in Hyderabad in 2007 and also the arrest and torture of innocent Muslim youth in the blast case.

But his father hardly finds any truth in the police allegations and claims innocence of his son.

“I feel that there were some higher-ups from government involved in my son’s arrest back in 2010, because they wanted to frame some religious youths in false cases. He was studying, religiously active and was not under the influence of any bad company but, you see, he was deliberately targeted and arrested under false charges,” claims Ahmed.

‘Encounter Preplanned’

Ahmed claims that his son was deliberately killed in a ‘fake encounter’, as he was arrested on charges that included targeting and killing of police personnel. It was like a prestige matter for the police department and they were not ready to leave him free, he further claims.

A week before the encounter, Ahmed went to meet his son in Warangal prison, where he had raised apprehensions about the sudden change in behavior of police escort and claimed that they wanted to kill him.

“Almost 90% of his case was completed in session court and the prosecution was not able to prove his cases due to lack of evidences and there were high chances that he could have been released on bail. They (Policemen) must have felt that it was their last chance to Kill them,” explains Ahmed.

Mohammed Viqaruddin's father Mohammed Ahmed

Mohammed Ahmed

Ahmed too pointed about the photograph of his son, lying dead in police bus, with his hands cuffed and tied to his seat.

“I don’t understand how could he snatch weapon, when he was cuffed and tied to his seat and how could he overpower the 17 member strong police team armed with guns,” he says.

FIR On Deceased

After the encounter, the Aler Police station under whose territorial jurisdiction the encounter had taken place lodged an FIR under section 120b, 143, 147,397,307, 224,332 r/w 149 IPC & S 25 (1), 27 Arms Act on the deceased UTs, relying completely on the statement of RSI Uday Bhaskar, who was leading the escort police team of Warangal central prison to the Hyderabad Court.

“FIR on deceased is ridiculous. How can they file FIR against persons who are no more alive? No FIR is registered against the police officers who opened fire. When we on our part went to register FIR u/s 302 against police, local station served us notice u/s 160 CrPC to intimidate us and refused to register the complaint,” says Ahmed.

During the hearing of re-postmortem appeal by higher bench of Andhra High Court, Chief Justice had pointed out and questioned police as to how they can lodge FIR against the deceased persons?

“Chief Justice did said that but on the second day when he delivered his verdict on re-postmortem, he choose to stay silent on the FIR lodged against deceased, which means they are working under pressure from the government,” alleges Ahmed.

Judicial Inquiry or Magisterial Inquiry

In April-end last year, the Executive magistrate/Revenue Divisional Officer of Nalgonda District under whose territorial Jurisdiction the encounter had taken place was appointed by government to preside over the Magisterial Inquiry on the opening of fire by police leading to death of
five under trial prisoners.

The order was issued in the clear violation of 176(1)(A) of CrPC that only authorizes Judicial magistrate to inquire into custodial death.

Notice from Executive Magistrate for inquiry

Notice for Magisterial inquiry

“Instead of Magisterial Inquiry, Judicial Inquiry should have taken place because they were in Judicial Custody and charges were still not proven against them. It was responsibility of Judiciary to look into the aspects leading to their death,” says Ahmed.

Not Proven Guilty but Govt. Refers them “terror operative”

A Government order issued by Chief Secretary to Govt. of Telangana for constitution of Special Investigation Team (SIT) for investigation into the Police encounter, surprisingly tags all deceased persons as ‘terror operatives’, despite the fact they were never convicted by any court of law in the country and their trial was still underway in the Nampally criminal court.

The government letter read, “In the fax message dated 07.04.2015 read above, the IG Intelligence, TS, Hyderabad has informed about the death of five terror operatives viz., 1) Viquar Ahmed, 2) Syed Amjed, 3) Mohd. Zakir, 4) Mohd. Haneef and 5) Izhar Khan in an exchange of fire, when they tried to escape by snatching weapons from escort party and opening fire at
them on 07.04.2015 morning between Jangaon and Aleru, while they were proceeding to Hyderabad for court trial in Nampally Court in Cr.No. 87/2010 of Hussaini Alam PS/SIT CCS, Hyderabad.

Governmnet order  tagging UTs as terror operatives

Telangana Government order, tagging Under-trials as “terror operatives.”

“We were shocked to read the Government Order which directly mentions all the five under tails as terror operative. How can they be terrorists when no court in the country had proven charges against them?” asks Sadiqa Begum.

Fight for Justice

Last year, Ahmed took three other victim families on board and filed a writ petition in state High Court for seeking intervention in lodging FIR under section 302 against the escort Police party besides scrapping of SIT constituted by government and handing over case to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“See, SIT constituted by government is a complete police body. How can they fairly investigate charges against their own men?” asks Ahmed.

Even a single hearing hasn’t taken place, almost a year after filing writ in the High Court.

“It is very deploring that our case hasn’t been heard even once since last one year, whereas the other case of killing of 20 laborers suspected as red sanders smugglers by Andhra Police on the same day in 2015 is getting listed for hearing regularly and even the court has passed two orders in it,” says Ahmed.

Putting all his hopes on Judiciary, Ahmed is defiant to fight for Justice until the ‘killers’ of his son aren’t behind the bars.

“Judiciary is the only place from where we can expect Justice. Court should act independently, without any pressure, in its true color so as to deliver justice for my son,” adds Ahmed.


A year after Aler encounter: Families ask questions that no one can answer