It is not at all to be discussed whether she and the three others were terrorists or not. What matters here is, they were killed in cold blood and nothing could justify it whatever might have been the circumstances then.
India could well be a Republic with pseudo-democratic values but it is certainly not a banana republic.
A 19-year old college girl from Mumbai was killed in a police encounter along with three others in June 2004 in Ahmedabad. The encounter was later alleged to be staged and since then, different investigating agencies and courts have observed that, based on the evidence thrown by the probes, the encounter indeed was fake.
True, the Ishrat Jahan encounter case and the controversial terror background of those killed have become a hotbed of conspiracy theories. But, no conspiracy theory can justify the killing if the encounter was staged, as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chargesheet in the case, submitted in the special trial court of Ahmedabad, says.
In fact, the controversy and the news-mongering about the alleged terror background should have ceased to be the point of discussion once it was proved beyond the point of suspicion that the encounter was staged.
There was terror alert on threat to the life of then Gujarat chief minister based on the intelligence inputs but that can never be the pretext to abduct and kill four people in cold blood even if they were terrorists.
And this is not something unknown in our country. Hundreds are killed in fake encounters in this country, irrespective of which party government is in rule. Sometimes it is like weeding out, when the administration decides enough is enough and some strong message is to be delivered by killing criminals in staged encounters, even at the cost of subverting the law of the land. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that most of the police-criminal encounters in India where only criminal are killed, are staged.
Such practices should never be acceptable in a society that claims to be the world’s largest democracy. Such practices kill the very essence of a democracy and pollute the very spirit of the Constitution enacted to nurture it.
It is not about Ishrat case only. It is about setting up a tradition. Politicians and the higher-ups in the administration promote such practices and thus encourage the police officers to take extrajudicial route to promote their careers, and sometimes, to settle their personal scores.
Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case could well be a case where the police officials would have thought of high-returns by pleasing the administration run by a government with a chief minister under constant terror threat due to his Hindu hardliner image and the blot of the Gujarat riots on him.
Most of the time, the Indian police is rightly blamed to be grossly insensitive and immoral. The lucre of getting high returns in terms of career, though wrongly placed, as always, was even more in this case due to the terror angle and was a strong motive for the officials involved to stage up an encounter with the terrorists showing recoveries like AK47.
This lucre – it has always been like this and gets more sinister with prospect of higher returns.
A report by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) tells 2,560 people were killed in police encounters between 1993 and 2008. The NHRC termed 1,224 of these as fake encounters. The unreported cases would certainly be higher in number.
And none of these killings can be justified like of Ishrat Jahan and three others.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/