The Bharatiya Janata Party has cried foul over the filing of a second and “additional” affidavit by the Centre in the Gujarat High Court in connection with the encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others by the Gujarat police.
Although the fresh affidavit makes it clear that the Centre was not retracting the earlier affidavit, BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged on Wednesday that the affidavit had been “changed” because the Centre was keen to “damn [Gujarat Chief Minister] Modi,” even if that meant “damning the Intelligence Bureau,” leading to an erosion of its credibility.
While the first affidavit plainly admitted that the IB had shared information with the Gujarat police that it suspected Javed Sheikh (with whom Ishrat was travelling) was part of a Lashkar module and that two others with them were “Pakistanis” who could be on a mission to kill a VIP, the fresh affidavit makes it clear that the Centre was not sure of the merits of the case and the allegations made by the petitioner — Ishrat’s mother — had to be replied to by the State of Gujarat. “The Central government is in no way concerned with such action [of the Gujarat police] nor does it condone or endorse any unjustified or excessive action,” the second affidavit said.
Mr. Prasad admitted that the issue of the Gujarat police staging a “fake encounter” was a different issue and had to be addressed separately by the criminal justice system, but he felt the Centre was now playing politics and allowing its “hate of Modi” to come in the way of issues relating to national security.
The Centre’s affidavit emphasised that while it did share intelligence with the State government, such intelligence inputs “do not constitute conclusive proof and it is for the State government and the State police to act on such inputs.”