By 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.