Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh) [India], January 19 (ANI): Day after joining the party, Congress leader Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan on Wednesday said that those killed in the Batla House encounter in the national capital in 2008 should be declared as "martyrs".
"People who died in Batla House were not terrorists, they should be given martyr status," Khan told ANI.
He said, "After the formation of the Congress government at the Centre, they said an investigation will be conducted into Batla House encounter. Those killed in the Batla House encounter were not terrorists, they should get martyr status. But Congress did not get the inquiry done."
"I will always oppose Congress if they go wrong. But, as of now, it seems that only Congress is needed for Uttar Pradesh and for the whole country. Congressmen are true secularists," he said.
Politician and Islamic cleric Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan, who was earlier booked for derogatory comments against PM Narendra Modi and reportedly issuing threats against the Hindu community, joined Congress ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls on Tuesday.
Addressing a press conference alongside Congress' Uttar Pradesh chief Ajay Lallu, Khan on Tuesday had said "We had resentment with Congress, but Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took advantage of it. We are responsible for the loss of the country. This step has been taken to rectify that mistake."
"I request all the UP people, especially Muslims that if you want to maintain peace here, vote for Congress," Khan had said.
Congress' Uttar Pradesh chief Ajay Kumar Lallu welcomed Khan in the party and said "I am thankful to Tauqeer Raza Khan who has given his support to Congress."
The Batla House Encounter by Delhi Police took place when terrorists of the Indian terror outfit Indian Mujahideen were reported to be hiding in a flat in the area of Jamia Nagar, Okhla, on September 19, 2008.
The operation resulted in the deaths of two terrorists and one police officer, Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, with the remaining terrorists arrested. On March 15, 2021, one of the arrested Ariz Khan alias Junaid, was sentenced to death for the murder of Inspector Sharma. (ANI)