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Justifying Ishrat Jahan “Fake Encounter”



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 .


Newsprint paper manufactures voice concerns




News Papers

New Delhi, Aug 13 : Indiscriminate import and dumping of newsprint paper is threatening the very survival of the domestic newsprint industry, says the Indian Newsprint Manufacturers Association (INMA), the apex body of newsprint manufacturers in India.

In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, as much as 85 percent of domestic demand for newsprint paper was met by imports while the country has adequate manufacturing capacities to meet the demand both in terms of quality and quantity. In a SOS communication to the Prime Minister, INMA has asked for urgent remedial measures to safeguard the interests of the industry.

“The adverse impact of dumping is so serious that currently no good orders are in place to keep the plants running, resulting in severe financial stress, endangering the continuity of the mill operations and retaining employment,” INMA has said in a statement.

“Domestic newsprint production capacity was 2.6 million tonnes in FY 2014-15 but has come down to 2.2 million tonnes in view of continued challenging environment leading to closure of mills. However domestic capacities are still adequate to meet the domestic demand. There is an urgent need to curb dumping and other unfair trade practices operating in the industry,” states INMA.

Due to imports being cheaper than the domestically manufactured newsprint product, during FY18 and FY19, domestic sales of newsprint stood at 1.2 million tonnes per annum which reduced drastically to 0.7 million tonnes in FY20 in view of dumping.

According to INMA, against the import price of $800 per tonne of newsprint in FY18, the news print is currently being dumped by exporters at $390-400 per tonne which is almost $250-300 per tonne cheaper than their home country sales price. With Covid pandemic leading to demand reduction worldwide, market intelligence points to dumping of newsprint paper at $350 per tonne.

INMA says it is not against legal import by actual users but against unfair trade practice being adopted by the exporters. As an urgent measure, INMA has asked for imposition of a five-year moratorium on newsprint imports, among other asks.

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Pilot stays in hunt for bigger role, to be rewarded in 2021 by high command



Sachin Pilot

Jaipur/New Delhi, Aug 11 : The can may well have been kicked down the road in Rajasthan but the vexed leadership issue remains wide open. Contrary to popular perception, former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who camped in Gurugram these past few days, has not beaten a hasty retreat.

Optically, he may have lost the skirmish, but he is very much in the game. This was a battle in a long drawn-out war. A war based on principles and one of anger over maltreatment.

Sources close to developments told IANS that his meeting with the Gandhi siblings – Rahul and Priyanka – at the former’s residence was one where he did not merely reveal his state of mind and reservations but was equally given cast iron assurances about the future.

Pilot, it is believed, didn’t hanker for any position but told them that belittling him by levelling charges of sedition was nothing short of outrageous. The Special Operations Group and Anti-Corruption Bureau charges were a travesty and he was pained and appalled at the charges levelled against him.

IANS has gathered that Pilot did not want to be a Deputy CM with a car and a bungalow for he had worked hard on the ground over the last six and a half years to help the Congress storm back to power in the state in the late 2018 election. To be viciously targeted by his own government was an abomination, according to him.

Apparently, he was given a fair hearing and while a decision on the party leadership in Rajasthan may have been kept in abeyance for the time being, a view will be definitely taken on this issue in early 2021. This assurance was given to him.

What is more is that Pilot has managed to get a fair and equitable settlement for all his followers, particularly those who camped with him in the last few days when they went underground. In a mockery of democracy, these MLAs were spied upon by the state CID which kept them under daily surveillance under Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s orders. This was intolerable for Pilot.

These things rankled with Pilot and while he was adamant that he won’t join the BJP from the outset, he was clear that he would stay with the Congress. All he wanted was a proper hearing and a just recourse to the problems and issues that he and his followers were facing in Rajasthan.

The Gandhi siblings have also come to realise that their footprint continues to shrink with the BJP trying to topple their state governments, the most recent case being Madhya Pradesh.

They didn’t want the BJP to take advantage of the fluid situation and hence sought closure. Once Pilot had given his side of the story, it was appreciated by the siblings.

It is clear that the Congress will want to hit the ground running with a young Pilot at the helm in the race for the state in 2023. It appears that Pilot may well become Chief Minister of Rajasthan in early 2021 to prepare for the battle in late 2023.

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Political circles mourn Rahat Indori’s demise



Rahat Indori

New Delhi, Aug 12 : Condolences have poured in for noted Urdu poet Rahat Indori, who passed away on Tuesday after suffering a cardiac arrest. The poet had also tested positive for Covid-19.

Offering his condolences, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted in Hindi, “I am deeply saddened by the news of the demise of noted poet Rahat Indoriji. He was an ardent personality of Urdu admiration. He has left an indelible mark on the hearts of people by his memorable poetries. It is a great loss for the literary world. I extend my condolences to his loved ones in this hour of grief.”

“My heart sank after I got to know about your demise. It has created a vaccum in the literary world which will be difficult to fill,” Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted in Hindi.

Quoting pne of Indori’s couplets, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Ab na main un na baki hai zamane mere, phir bhi mashhoor hai shahron mein fasane mere… Alvida Rahat Indori sahab.”

Leader of Opposition in the Upper House, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said in his condolence message, “He will be remembered for his free, fair and fearless poetic expressions.”

“India has lost a great Urdu poet; I salute the departed soul of Rahat Indori, the voice of millions of Indians,” Azad tweeted.

Indori, a poet and painter, taught Urdu literature at the Indore University before foraying into Bollywood as a lyricist.

Among the many memorable verses he created for Hindi films are “Neend churayi meri” and “Dekho dekho jaanam” (“Ishq”), “Chori chori jab nazrein mili” (“Kareeb”), “M bole toh” and “Chhan chhan” (“Munna Bhai MBBS”), “Dil ko hazaar baar” (“Murder”), “Tumsa koi pyaara” (“Khuddar”) and the title song of “Sir”.

His popular books include “Do Kadam Aur Sahi”, “Maujood”, “Chand Pagal Hai”, “Mere Baad” and “Naraz”.

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