A day after the Gujarat government questioned the magisterial inquiry report on the June 2004 “fake encounter” on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, the Centre said it stood by its affidavit that the four victims, including Ishrat Jehan, were suspects, but stressed that “terrorists cannot be killed in cold blood.”

“We have submitted the affidavit in court, and it contains inputs and facts which were available with the Central government and intelligence agencies. We are not backtracking on the affidavit,” Home Secretary G.K. Pillai told journalists here on Wednesday.

Seeking to make a distinction between providing intelligence inputs and the police action, Mr. Pillai said, “Nobody can justify the encounter,” adding even if “they were terrorists, they cannot be killed in cold blood.”

“Ministry not involved”

Mr. Pillai clarified that nobody from the Central agencies was involved in the “so-called encounter” and the Home Ministry “has nothing to do with the encounter.” He said “facts based on the intelligence reports” were given in the affidavit.

The Ministry was neither a party nor in a position to decide on the bona fides of the encounter, and it was for the court to find out, he said.

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