10 question marks over Ishrat Jahan

Last Updated: Mon, Jul 08, 2013 07:13 hrs
Ishrat encounter: Victim's father to move SC

1. Why now?

It’s been more than 10 years since Ishrat Jahan was killed in a police encounter in Gujarat. So why is it coming to boil after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was announced as election campaign chief for the BJP?

Why is it coming so close to the next general elections? And more importantly, why was the CBI chargesheet done at exactly the same time as the extremely significant and contentious Food Security Bill Ordinance was being passed?

The chargesheet diverted attention from the food bill. Are all these mere coincidences? Then why is our political landscape riddled with so many coincidences that defy explanation?

2. Why the sudden U-turn?

In 2004, we were told that Ishrat and her accomplices were allegedly from the Lashkar-e-Taiba and on an assassination mission. Ghazwa Times (a Lahore-based LeT mouthpiece) stated Ishrat was indeed an LeT operative. Reports came of even terrorist David Headley claiming her.

That’s been the past. Now in 2013, when no fresh compelling evidence has come into the scene, why this total U-turn by the central government? Why is the whole “secular” establishment in India suddenly singing praises of her? Is all this well-orchestrated?

3. What about her accomplices?

Even if she was innocent, why is there silence on her accomplices? Were they terrorists or were they also totally innocent like Ishrat is being claimed now? Why this silence on about them? Isn’t any case about the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? So why this alleged partial truth being thrust on us at this stage?

4. Why this CBI-IB fight?

Doesn’t the IB come under the Centre? Doesn’t the CBI report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh? So isn’t he responsible for both? So couldn’t action have been taken against this IB official directly if he was guilty? Why is all this dirty linen being washed in public? Why is the government totally demoralizing the IB? Why is the government totally demoralizing the security forces of this country?

5. Why “1 in 1000 encounter” ?

 India has seen thousands and thousands of encounter killings (yes, that many!). Till recently they were glorified and felt necessary. If you thought they peaked only during the Punjab problem during the last century, then you are wrong.

The National Human Rights Commission says that there have been more than 800 killings in the period from 2002-11. Other sources put it at much higher. So what is so special about this particular encounter that all the resources of the state and media are being spent?

6. Why is Congress being censored out?

Going by reports, it was the IB which passed on the information to the Gujarat Police. Reports also say that the IB was closely involved even during the encounter. The IB reports to a Congress Prime Minister and Home Minister while the Gujarat Police reports to a BJP Chief Minister and Home Minister.

Looked from that angle, it’s a joint Congress-BJP operation. So why has the Congress been totally censored out of the news censure?

7. Why a secular mascot?

If Ishrat was innocent then it is a tragedy indeed. But why is she being made out to be a secular mascot? What are NCP leaders doing with her? Why is a JD(U) leader calling her a “Bihar ki beti”. Does everything Modi support become communal and everything he oppose become secular? That way, is he somewhat like Midas?

8. Maya-Mulayam clean, Modi dirty?

 According to the NHRC, UP saw a whopping 342 encounters from 2002-11. Many of them involved Muslims. Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav have been chief ministers during this period. It’s OK because they merely call themselves secular?

Manipur, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh… have all seen more encounter killings than Gujarat.

So why this sudden anti-Gujarat frenzy?

9. Why is Manmohan mum?

 The CBI is involved. The IB is involved. The Union Home Ministry is involved. An Opposition CM has been targeted. There is only one common factor in all that: Manmohan.

This is not a case of a local thief stealing from a kirana store that the PM can refuse to comment on. This is the burning issue of the day and sadly the mainstream media refuses to ask any kind of questions to the PM.

10. Why is the actual terror debate being sidetracked?

Modi is just another CM in India. In this case he is the smaller picture. Tens of thousands of people have died in terror attacks in India. The exact figures are elusive, but the government says that 47,000 died from 1989-2008 in the Kashmir insurgency alone.

What should be our terror policy? Are encounter killings necessary evils? If they are totally done away with, what can they be replaced with? Are we a soft state? How can we make it hard? All these issues will never be discussed and have got lost in the massive nationwide Modi witch-hunt.

Post Script: Is the answer to all these questions, “We want to fix Modi at all cost”?

(Even if that means destroying the very security fabric of this country?)

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