Seeking the Muslim vote

On 9 February 2012, a day before second phase elections in Uttar Pradesh, Union Law Minister and a senior Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh (UP) Salman Khurshid made a claim in Muslim-majority Azamgarh that shocked his fellow Congressmen in Delhi. He said national party president Sonia Gandhi had wept when he showed her photographs of the victims of Batla House encounter. In September 2008, Batla House encounter took place in the neighbourhood of Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia where two alleged terrorists from Azamgarh were killed. One of them was a student of Jamia. Repeated requests by civil society groups, university teachers as well as senior Congress leaders like Digvijaya Singh and Khurshid for an investigation was turned down by Congress party’s own Union Home Minister P Chidambaram. The party simply refused to take a clear position even as its own government calls it a genuine encounter.

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