October 1, 2009
Centre says it did not justify Gujarat police action
In fresh affidavit filed in HC, it says it is open to an independent
probe in the case
government whose affidavit filed in August had boosted the stand of
the state government with respect to the Ishrat Jahan encounter
case, on Wednesday filed a fresh affidavit in Gujarat High Court,
saying that it never justified the action of Gujarat police and that
it had no objection to an independent inquiry in the case.
"The Central government was not concerned with the merits of the
action taken by the Gujarat police and anything stated in the
(earlier) affidavit was not intended to support or justify the
action of the state police,'' the fresh affidavit said.
While in the first affidavit the Central government had stated that
Ishrat Jahan and three others were alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba
operatives and were on a mission to kill a political leader, this
time however the affidavit has not touched upon that issue.
"The first affidavit did not address any issue relating to the
merits or otherwise of the police action. It was essentially
concerned with dealing with the allegations relating to the
'intelligence inputs' which are available with the Central
government and which are shared on a regular basis with the state
government," sad the affidavit filed by RVS Mani, an under-secretary
with the union home ministry.
The filing of the second affidavit by the Centre assumes
significance as the state government had used the Centre's first
affidavit as a 'shield' to defend its stand on the case after
judicial magistrate SP Tamang in his inquiry report in September
first week had concluded the encounter as fake. The state government
which challenged the Tamang report in the high court cited that even
"the Centre had said that the Ishrat and three of her accomplices
were LeT operatives.'' The high court later stayed the Tamang
Now, in the new affidavit, the Centre has said that the primary
concern of the Central government was to see that the inputs
gathered by the Indian security agencies and their efforts were not
discredited. "It should be cleared to all that such inputs do not
constitute conclusive proof and it is for the state government and
the state police to act on such inputs. The Central government is in
no way concerned with such action nor does it not condone or endorse
any unjustified or excessive action," it says.
The affidavit said: "If on proper consideration of the facts, it is
found that an independent inquiry and investigation has be carried
out by the CBI or otherwise, the Union government would have no
objection to his and would abide by the decision of the high court."
Meanwhile, the Gujarat government has termed the fresh affidavit as
doublespeak of the Centre, aimed at policy of appeasement and vote
bank politics. "On several occasions, the UPA government had said
that the job of the Central intelligence was to provide inputs while
providing security at the ground level was the job of the respective
state governments,'' state government spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas
said, alleging that the UPA government has taken an exactly opposite
stand by filing the new affidavit.
He accused the UPA government of virtually triggering a media trial
without waiting for the decision of the high court, which has formed
a committee to investigate whether the incident was a fake encounter
or not. "This has exposed the UPA government. What they do not
realise is that people of Gujarat are not going to be misguided by
them,'' he said. —With Agencies