With the court convicting the lone militant in the controversial Batla House encounter for murdering Inspector M C Sharma, the slain cop's family on Thursday voiced satisfaction, saying it proved his martyrdom was genuine and the politicians who had raised doubts were wrong.
Maya Sharma, whose husband M C Sharma had led the police team that had stormed an apartment in Batla House to catch alleged terrorists, said the judgement has proved that it was not a fake encounter as claimed by certain politicians.
"Now it has been proved by the court that it was not a fake encounter and that martyrdom of my husband was genuine. The encounter was questioned by the political parties for their own benefit as it had happened during the election year. Today's judgement has proved them wrong," Sharma said.
Sharma had led a seven-member team to the Batla House on September 19, 2008 on a tip-off that suspected terrorists, involved in the serial blasts in the capital. He had succumbed to the bullet injuries sustained during the gun battle, accorded the highest gallantry award, the Ashok Chakra.
The shootout had sparked a controversy with Congress leader Digvijaya Singh claiming that it was fake, but his party had swiftly distanced itself from his remarks.
Slamming those who had termed the encounter as fake, Sharma said she was least bothered about the allegations.
"And this was very painful for me. He was performing his duty leaving behind his unwell son on that fateful day and sacrificed his life. He had gone there to solve the serial bomb blast case in Delhi.
"The court is yet to pronounce the quantum of punishment to the convict.... There will be attempts again to raise this issue but I am least bothered as I was earlier also," she said.
Welcoming the court verdict, Sharma's father Naurottam Sharma said "There is some relief. I am satisfied with the court's decision, but await the final judgement. I am worried that the accused can move the higher court."
"Questioning the encounter, Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Digvijaya Singh even went to Azamgarh. But later P Chidambaram as home minister had said the encounter was genuine. Why this politics?", the father said. The convict Shahzad Ahmad hails from Azamgarh.
The slain inspector's 76-year-old mother Devinder Devi also echoed her husband saying she was waiting for a final judgement.
"I don't know who killed my son. But those who were saying that it was a fake encounter, then how the government had awarded my son," she said. Sharma was accorded the highest gallantry award, the Ashok Chakra, posthumously in 2009.
When asked whether she wants the convict to be hanged, she said "I will accept whatever will be the God's will but the convict should be given harsh punishment."
Demanding maximum punishment for the convict, Sharma's wife said "a long battle still lies ahead".
Lone suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Shahzad Ahmad was convicted by a court for murdering Sharma and assaulting other officers. The court fixed July 29 for pronouncing order on sentence against him.
The encounter had taken place at apartment in Batla House in Jamia Nagar locality, six days after serial bomb blasts rocked Delhi, killing 26 persons and injuring 133 others. The police had reached Batla House on a tip off that some suspected militants involved in the blasts were holed up in the building.
Of the five flat occupants, Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid were killed during the encounter.