JTSA welcomes the SIT report which has concluded that the teenaged college girl Ishrat Jahan and her three companions were killed in cold blood—and were not terrorists on way to kill Narendra Modi. This has reinforced the findings of the Tamang Enquiry Report which had drawn similar conclusions in 2009, and which the Gujarat government had tried to suppress and discredit. The SIT report has given credence to the allegation of civil rights activists that the officers in Gujarat police had executed several people through the last decade in collusion with the highest political authority in the state. The police officers gained medals and promotions and Modi built his image as the Hindutva hero by highlighting the alleged assassination attempts on him.
JTSA salutes the fighting spirit of the lawyers, activists and family members of those killed in the encounter, especially Ishrat’s family who had to suffer not only her loss but also the ignominy of their daughter being labeled a terrorist.
However, we must remember that Gujarat is not the only state where encounter killings were condoned and pursued as state policy.
We would also like to reiterate that the Batla House ‘encounter', despite the NHRC’s clean chit and the Congress government’s stubborn refusal for a free and fair probe, remains suspect. Recall that the post moretm reports of the two youth killed confirmed that the two had been shot from close range in the back; not a single shot was fired in the frontal region--an improbability in the case of cross fire. There are reasons to believe that the government is hiding the truth. What the SIT report and Tamang report before that tell us is that even if delayed, the pursuit of truth and justice must not be given up.
Manisha Sethi, Adeel Mehdi, MS. Bhatt, Ahmed Sohaib, Tanweer Fazal, Sanghamitra Misra, Arshad Alam, Ambarien Al Qadar, Ghazi Shahnawaz, Anwar Alam, Farah Farooqi, Azra Razak, Haris Haq, Shakeb Ahmed and others
21st November 2011