Ensure Justice for Ishrat Jehan !

Get To The Bottom Of The Communal Conspiracy Of Staged Fake Encounters and Communal Witch-Hunt! Nail the IB and Political Masterminds!
The courageous struggle of Ishrat jehan’s mother and family – up against the formidable state machinery of the Gujarat Government and the central intelligence agency IB and the Home Ministry – has finally won a historic vindication. Nearly a decade ago, the Gujarat police displayed the bodies of Ishrat Jahan and 3 others, claiming they were terrorists killed in an encounter, and that they had been aiming to kill Narendra Modi. Subsequently, in 2009, the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate SP Tamang termed the encounter as “fake”. In 2011, the Court-appointed SIT also concluded that the encounter had been staged. The Tamang report, the SIT report and the findings of the CBI enquiry ordered by the Court, have all confirmed what Ishrat’s mother and family maintained all along: that Ishrat was killed in cold blood. Testimonies of Gujarat cops to the CBI, including a sting operation by one of the cops, reveal the involvement of Gujarat’s senior-most police officials, as well as senior officers of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), those known to be very close to the state’s Home Minister Amit Shah and the Chief Minister Narendra Modi. It is clear that this particular fake encounter was not just a case of some trigger-happy cops. There are all indications that there is an elaborate political plot behind the killings. The fact is that a series of ‘encounters’ in Gujarat – of Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati, of Sadiq Jamal – now established as fake by investigating agencies, all played out to a certain political script. They were all aimed at promoting the myth of Modi as the target of terrorist attacks by Muslims. The question of who ordered all these killings that benefited Modi politically, needs an answer. Because very powerful people and institutions are implicated in the killings of Ishrat and 3 others, there is also a desperate attempt to cover up the truth.

The IB has tried to claim that they have tapes of phone conversations between LeT terrorists which prove that Ishrat was a terrorist; they also claim that David Headley confirmed that Ishrat was an LeT operative. None of these claims are backed up by any facts. The so-called tapes of LeT phone calls have no mention of Ishrat, plus the IB can’t answer why these tapes, if genuine, were not handed over to the Tamang enquiry or the SIT during their investigations. The NIA has confirmed that Headley did not even mention Ishrat during their interrogation of him. Failing to establish a definite terror link, the BJP is now falling back on sexist slandering of Ishrat’s character. BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi has been saying that Ishrat, a young woman, travelled alone with men, and this in itself is suspivious. Plus, she has said that since Ishrat was a young woman from a poor family, she was an ideal candidate to be a terrorist! The BJP has been accusing the CBI of acting as a tool for the Congress-UPA Government to target Narendra Modi. But the truth is that the Congress-UPA Government itself seems interested in a cover-up. The Home Ministry has made it clear that they are seeking to protect the IB officers implicated in the case, by claiming that the CBI will need ‘sanction’ from the Ministry in order to prosecute the IB. It seems as though there is an undeclared AFSPA-type law to protect the IB – a shady institution that acts without any accountability! And indeed, the CBI’s chargesheet has not named the accused IB officer Rajendra Kumar. We need to struggle to ensure that the CBI does not backtrack, and in fact will include Rajendra Kumar and other IB officers in the chargesheet, and will follow up the investigation to ensure that the political masterminds of the fake encounter are identified and punished. The political slanging match between BJP and Congress cannot hide the fact that the Congress simply has not walked its secular talk – be it in the Ishrat Jahan case where the Home Ministry has continuously helped to cover up the fake encounter, or in other cases of communal violence and fake encounters, where Congress Governments have never taken decisive action to punish the perpetrators. Congress governments have also been involved in fake encounters and false framing of innocent Muslims in terror cases: witness Batla House, Malegaon, Mecca Masjid cases. And Congress governments took no action against Advani and other BJP leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case even after the Liberhans commission, or against Bal Thackeray in the Bombay riots case after the Srikrishna Commission. Ishrat’s family is fighting for justice. But this issue is not a matter that concerns Ishrat’s family alone. It concerns each and every democratic citizen. We have to ask ourselves: can we allow the cold-blooded killers who hatched a conspiracy to murder a young girl and falsely brand her as a terrorist to go unpunished?

Do Not Remove Till 10 July 2013

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