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Jaitley defends police action

NEW DELHI NOV. 7. The Bharatiya Janata Party today rose to the defence of the Delhi police whose version of the Sunday encounter in which two militants were killed at a shopping mall here has been challenged. ``The police have done a commendable job in liquidating the militants. They (militants) were armed ... police have given their identity as Pakistani nationals,'' the BJP general secretary, Arun Jaitley, told correspondents here.

The police information was that the militants would pick out soft targets on Diwali eve. In fact, police had chosen a place to engage the militants where civilian casualties could be avoided.

Mr. Jaitley said police must furnish all the details to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which had asked for a report. The NHRC yesterday issued a notice to the Delhi police following a joint petition from Kuldip Nayar, MP, and Praful Bidwai, journalist, in which they submitted that going by media reports, the incident had all the trappings of a ``fake encounter''.

Mr. Jaitley said that those who petitioned the NHRC must do so on the basis of hard facts rather than on the basis of ``unverified statements''. ``When important persons lend their names to discredit the security agencies, particularly when security agencies have succeeded in saving innocent civilians from terrorists, they must be sure of their facts,'' he said.

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