Monday, November 21, 2011

"Gujarat Police Encounter was Fake", SIT told High Court

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Monday confirmed the findings of a judicial probe into the infamous Ishrat Jahan encounter case and called it fake. This is viewed as a jolt to the BJP government in Gujarat.

Human rights groups have repeatedly expressed concerns about these alleged "fake encounters"  and were continuously raising voice against the probe. After lots of criticism the way police handled the case Supreme Court appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate into the case. Former director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) R K Raghavan was appointed its head. The members of SIT kept on changing for various reasons.

Ishrat's mother Shamima Kausar and Gopinath Pillai, father of Pranesh, had filed  a petition in Gujarat highcourt raising questions about the police version of the incident. The high court on 7th Oct  had asked the SIT to submit its report in Nov.
The three member SIT which submitted its report to the high court is  headed by Bihar cadre IPS Rajiv Ranjan Verma. The probe in the case was supervised directly by the high court.

According to SIT,Ishrat and Javed were killed along with two Pakistani nationals -- Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar Abdul Ghani -- both alleged LeT terrorists, on June 15, 2004. Whereas, the police version said, they were intercepted on the outskirts of Ahmedabad when they were about to enter the city in a blue Indica on a mission to eliminate chief minister Narendra Modi.

The SIT has also informed the court that Ishrat and three others were killed before the date of encounter on June 15, 2004. The SIT had informed the court in October that it wanted to conduct psycho-analysis test by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) on some of the witnesses, who have turned hostile.  

Based on the SIT report the court has asked police to file a new FIR against the police officers involved. The NGOs and some of the politicians pitted against Narendra Modi have hailed the report and concluded it as a victory against the state government.

However, this is only the beginning of new chapter in the case. There are still many questions which remain unanswered. This includes central investigation agency’s own information claiming Ishrat Jahan to be a fidayeen of LeT. Pakistani American terrorist David Headley during interrogation by NIO last year, had said that Ishrat Jahan, the Mumbai girl who was killed along with three alleged terrorists in 2004 in a police encounter, was indeed a Lashkar-e-Taiba fidayeen.

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