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Published in the 16-31 Aug 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Muslim youth killed in “encounter”

Shakeel Ahmad Saabir Ali, 38, was a taxi driver in Mumbai. On 6 July his family in Pyarey Parda village of Pratapgarh district (UP) received a telephonic message from Mumbai that Shakeel has been picked up by the police and taken to an unknow destination. Shakeel’s wife Majeda Begum and his two minor sons and younger brother, Khalil Ahmad Saabir Ali, 33, live in the village. The news caused great shock to the family. On 8 July the family received another telephonic message and they were informed that he was killed in a police “encounter”. The same day Khalil left for Mumbai by Mahanagri Express.

After reaching Mumbai next day, Khalil contacted an advocate, Shahid Azmi, and with his help got custody of the dead body of Shakeel. The same day he set off for Pratapgarh with the dead body in an ambulance car.

The police claimed that Shakeel, alias Maulana Shakeel, alias Shakeel Taliban, was killed in the midnight on 8 July in a Muslim locality where he had gone allegedly to meet someone.

According to the police, when a team of the crime branch police challengd him, he fired at them. In retaliation, Arun Chauhan, a police officer, fired at him and he was killed instantly. The police claims that Shakeel Ahmed Taliban was leader of an extremist organisation which was active in Mumbai. Members of the organisation don kurta pyjama and commit theft and docoity in the name of jehad, police claimed, adding that Shakeel was complicit in a number of cases of theft, dacoity and murder of a local doctor. He had also worked for Chhota Rajan and some other dons.

Sankalp, a human rights organisation, has rejected the police version of the “encounter” and said that Shakeel’s death was a case of cold-blooded murder by the police. The chairman of Sankalp, Abu Asim Azmi, who is also a member of parliament (Rajya Sabha), has demanded CBI enquiry into Shakeel’s murder and suspension of the police officers resposible for his death. He has also demanded registration of an FIR against the police for his abduction and murder. Sankalp has promised legal, moral and financial help to Shakeel’s family.

Shakeel’s brother Khaleel said that his brother was never involved in any theft or dacoity case. He was a religious-minded and God-fearing person. Shakeel’s faimly has a thatched (kutccha) house and only 5 bighas of land in their village, while Shakeel lived in a rented slum dwelling in Mumbai.

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