The report of the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate on the encounter of teenager Ishrat Jehan and three others in 2004 has reinforced the image of the Gujarat police (“Damning indictment,” Sept. 10). It has not only exposed the fact that the police acted against the rule of law but also established their image as cruel and biased.
If the police are allowed to continue working in this manner, the democratic foundation of our country will be shattered. That the Gujarat police have been communalised systematically is a matter of serious concern.
Aman Mohd Khan,
Instead of questioning S.P. Tamang’s report on some flimsy ground, the Gujarat government should act against the police officials named by him. It is important to establish the rule of law in Gujarat, not reward fake encounters.
It is disturbing to note that the police use extra-judicial methods to please their higher-ups and get promotions. The Ishrat Jehan case was shrouded in mystery from the very beginning. Mr. Tamang’s report has confirmed our worst fears. We now have the real facts behind the encounter before us.
Earlier, we read of fake encounters engineered by the police and the army in Jammu and Kashmir to get gallantry awards. Now, the Gujarat police have been accused of carrying out fake encounters for similar purposes. If such incidents continue to increase, there is a likelihood of honest security personnel shying away from carrying out even genuine encounters, letting criminals escape. Governments should put an end to fake encounters by coming down heavily on the personnel responsible. They sidetrack the objective to fight terrorism and spoil the resolve.
P. Guru Prasad,
On reading about the fake encounter of Ishrat and her associates, one is reminded of the 2008 incident in Warangal, in which three suspects involved in a case of acid attack on two local college girls were killed by the police in an encounter. Though many doubts were raised about the genuineness of the encounter — notwithstanding the fact that the police were lauded for “punishing” the culprits — nothing has been done about it.
Ishrat’s is not the first disputed case and I am afraid it will not be the last. Politicians in power continue to use the police for their benefit.
It would be naïve to imagine that the entire police force is tainted. It would be equally naïve to imagine that the entire force is upright. “Encounters” should not become a taken-for-granted power.
Branding a poor Mumbai student a terrorist operative and killing her in a fake encounter was more than a crime and should be condemned by civil society. At this juncture, one needs to recall the much publicised maut ka saudagar remark by Sonia Gandhi on Narendra Modi during the last elections. But strangely, the UPA government submitted an affidavit in the Gujarat High Court saying Ishrat was a terror suspect. This speaks volumes about the inconsistency of the Congress.
A. Raghunatha Reddy,
Since the Gujarat riots of 2002, the Modi government has come in for criticism at various forums and courts. The latest is the Supreme Court’s observation asking the government to come clean on encounters and order a SIT probe into the Sohrabuddin encounter case. It is a telling comment on Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. The question is: can a democratically elected government and its head ignore the courts and the law of the land and get away with all their acts?
Let us assume Ishrat Jehan was not a terrorist. What about the three persons who were with her? Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai who is said to have had two passports, gone to Oman and met LeT cadres there? And the IB report that says Ishrat and Javed went to Lucknow, Agra and a few other cities as husband and wife? If she was a college student in Mumbai, what was she doing in a car in Ahmedabad? The affidavit filed by the Centre also says Ishrat, Javed and the two persons who accompanied them were terror suspects. Had they planted bombs and killed innocent people, would we not have blamed the police for not acting promptly on the intelligence provided?
K. Rajesh Kanna,
It is interesting to read the Centre’s contention that it stands by its affidavit but is of the opinion that terrorists cannot be killed in cold blood. Very true. It is the prerogative of terrorists to kill people in cold blood. After every murderous attack, all we need to do is issue a statement that the guilty will be given kadi-se-kadi sazaa (the most stringent punishment).
Terrorism is on the increase in India and we need aggressive anti-terror policies. Accusing the Gujarat government of staging false encounters is an act of political opportunism. It is clear that the Gujarat police acted on the inputs provided by the Centre. The victims’ families are yet to tell us why their kin were found with the two Pakistani nationals. It is important to ensure that innocent people do not become victims of police excesses. But there should be no political interference or attempts to get political mileage.
The report describing the killing of Ishrat and three others as a false encounter and the subsequent media hype about the possibility of the victims’ innocence is overstretched. One’s heart definitely goes out to the victims. But sympathy and justice are not interchangeable. The Tamang report negates the Centre’s intelligence input which claims that Ishrat and the others were terror suspects. Which one of them is true? If Ishrat and Javed were victims of a well-orchestrated fake encounter, how were their names associated with persons of proven criminal and anti-national background?