Justifying Ishrat Jahan “Fake Encounter”

Ishrat Jahan

By Arti Bali

arti bali

After the testimony given by 26/11 Mumbai attack accused David Headley,BJP continues to label Ishrat Jahan as a terrorist  and justify the ‘encounter’ by Gujarat police  thus attacking Congress  but what is denied is the natural process of justice.

Ishrat Jahan “encounter” is the first case in the history of Indian politics and judicial system that has seen such twists and turns  by a state government and  officers of the bureaucracy.

The role of Ishrat Jahan still remains  hidden  with varying statements by Indian intelligence  as well as Pakistani terrorist Headley’s changing testimony.

Different statements by Indian intelligence  as well as by Headley continue to mystify the circumstances  related  to Ishrat Jahan‘s role as a terrorist. Even the terrorist organization.

Lashkar -e –Taiba and Jaish–e-Mohammad tried to  gain popularity  and strike fear among people  in its notoriety by claiming her  to be a member of their cadre.

Ishrat Jahan, a teenaged girl from mumbra, was killed in an ‘encounter’ in June 15,2004 along with three others– Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Joha.

The Ahmedabad city crime branch had then claimed that those killed in the encounter were LeT terrorists and had arrived in Gujarat to assassinate the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

But Maharashtra police then claimed that there is no case against Ishrat.

There are several issues that cast doubts over the stated ‘encounter’

No FIR was lodged  and no chargesheet was filed by the Gujarat police. What is even more bewildering  is an affidavit by the highest political  leader and former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram  having himself cleared her from the charge of being  a “terrorist”.

Under these circumstances Gujarat governmnt claim that Ishrat travelled from Maharashtra  to Gujarat to assassinate Modi do not seen tenable.

A magisterial enquiry, SIT probe and CBI investigation subsequently all concluded that  Ishrat jahan  was a fake encounter – that the police claim of having fired on her in ‘self-defence’ was a lie. High Court ordered a case to be filed  against those  involved in the Ishrat fake encounter case. And in July 2013, almost a decade after the fake encounter, a charge sheet was filed against 7 Gujarat police officials and four Intelligence Bureau officials for the unlawful killings, abduction, criminal conspiracy etc.

But the crucial point remains : Ishrat being killed in an encounter assumes serious dimensions :

1)Ishrat could be arrested  and then tried in a court of law.

2) With all the security apparatus around in Gujarat, Ishrat should have been made to undergo  the process of law so that truth could come out for the betterment of the country.

The CBI, which took over probe from the Gujarat High Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), had filed a charge sheet in August 2013 saying that the encounter was fake and executed in the joint operation by the city crime branch and Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB).

Likelihood of  reasoning behind Ishrat encounter

The fact of eliminating Ishrat by the Gujarat authorities on the stated ground that  she had arrived  in Gujarat  for assassinating the then chief minister apparently ups the image of Narendra Modi among the Sangh Parivar.

Credibility of CBI in question BJP led NDA government is now attacking Congress on the basis of David Headley’s testimony  and refused to believe on the authentic report of SIT probe and CBI investigation that Ishrat encounter was fake.

Moreover, Prime Minister  Modi is basically contradicting himself  as he said in Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ‘s World culture festival   “If we keep criticising everything we have and do not take pride in our cultural legacy, why should the world look at us?”

The same goes with the credibility of our investigative agencies  as France’s Directorate General for External Security were assisted by the US secret service CIA for the security of French President Francois Hollande’s India visit as chief guest on Republic Day.  So if Indian government will not trust the country’s investigative and judiciary institutions  why  the world will believe on us.

Ex-Babus changing sides for their convenience

Now, talking about the then Home Secretary GK Pillai, former Under Secretary (Home) RVS Mani and former IB Special Director Rajendra Kumar statements that UPA targeted Modi by changing the affidavit.

Pillai had claimed that Chidambaram had himself dictated the Centre’s revised affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case in 2009, in which the references to her alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba links were removed.

The then UPA government had submitted two affidavits – one that the four, who were killed in an alleged fake encounter, were terrorists and the second saying there was no conclusive evidence – within two months in 2009.

Chidambaram had said  that the second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case was “absolutely correct” and as minister then “I accept the responsibility” and  Pillai  is also “equally responsible”.

Why the bureaucrats are changing their statements now? Bureaucrats  who retire should not be given any post by the government otherwise  they will keep on changing the arguments  and keep the cases alive for years.

In March 2016, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a writ petition filed by a lawyer seeking closure of all criminal proceedings against Gujarat police officers, including then DIG D.G. Vanzara in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan ‘fake’ encounter case.

Lawyer filed a petition on the basis of the testimony given by 26/11 Mumbai attack accused David Headley that Ishrat Jahan and her three companions were Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives .

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