Alleges intimidation by a section of Intelligence Bureau and "some powerful people"
Family members of Ishrat Jahan, who was killed by the Gujarat police in a fake encounter in 2004, on Thursday said there was a threat to their lives and demanded adequate security. They alleged that they were being intimidated by a section of the Intelligence Bureau and “some powerful people.”
Ishrat’s mother Shamima said at a press conference here that the family had, through its counsel, sent a letter to the Home Ministry stating Rauf Lala and Mohinuddin Ismail Sayed, who had been supporting the family, were also in danger. Film director Mahesh Bhatt and activist Shabnam Hashmi were present.
“Two policemen were deployed outside our house yesterday [Wednesday],” said Ishrat’s sister Mussarat. “Around 2.30 a.m., a group claiming to be policemen started banging our door. They said they had come to see whether we are safe. As we did not open the door, they left after a while.” The two policemen, Rathod and Shirodkar, were missing after the incident. She added the Mumbra police, however, said they had not sent anyone.
This was not an isolated incident. The family members were being threatened by those who did not want them to fight for justice, Ms. Shamima said. “Last month, while returning from the airport to Mumbra, our car was attacked by two armed men. One of them, we learnt later, was a contract killer,” said Rauf Lala, Ishrat’s uncle.
Before that, a radical Hindu outfit was ready to attack the family when it went to Delhi for a programme, Ms. Hashmi claimed. “Also when we were coming back from Haryana, a car from a local IB unit followed us for around 30 km.” She accused the IB of planting stories about Ishrat in the media to malign her name.
Last week, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a charge sheet in the fake encounter case.
Sandeep Joshi writes from New Delhi:
“There is a serious threat to the lives of Shamima Kauser and her children,” counsel Vrinda Grover told The-Hindu. In the letter to the Home Secretary, a copy of which has also been sent to the CBI, Ms. Grover said: “The Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasised the need for giving protection to victims and witnesses in such circumstances. In accordance with the law, Shamima Kauser, her children, Rauf Lala and Mohinuddin Ismail Sayed deserve to be provided all necessary protection.
“Given the nature of the case and the profile of the accused, simply posting a couple of policemen as guards is likely to jeopardise their security even further. Appropriate and necessary steps are required to be urgently taken to ensure the safety and security of Shamima and others.”
Ministry sources said Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had asked senior officials to look into the matter and enhance the security cover provided to the family if needed. But Ms. Grover said no one from the Ministry had replied to her letter. They contacted neither her nor Ms. Shamima. “We are yet to hear from the government. They are aware of the threat to Shamima’s family… They need to act fast.”