Shamima Kauser for BeyondHeadlines
My daughter Ishrat Jehan was abducted, illegally confined and killed in cold blood by officers and men of the Gujarat police, in June 2004. She was killed as part of a larger conspiracy which had a political agenda. Ishrat’s murder was projected as an ‘encounter’ and justified by branding her a terrorist who had come with 3 other men to attack the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. This was not the first fake encounter in Gujarat, other Muslims too had been executed in similar staged encounters, committed in the name of protecting the Chief Minster of Gujarat. Some of these other fake encounters, which are nothing but pre meditated extra judicial killings, are already under investigation and prosecution.
My young college going daughter, Ishrat, was studying and working to earn and support her brothers and sisters, after the death of her father. Since the day of her murder, I have been stating hat my daughter was innocent and had no links whatsoever with any terrorist or criminal activity. The same was categorically asserted by me in the Writ Petition field by me in August 2004, before the Gujarat High Court, seeking a CBI enquiry to establish the innocence of my daughter and justice through punishment of her killers.
For 9 long years the Gujarat state, has abused its power, to obstruct, delay and derail the investigation, so that the hands and masterminds behind this heinous crime are shielded from legal accountability. The State of Gujarat and its senior IPS officers have filed frivolous and vexatious petitions in the Supreme Court, coerced witnesses, and deployed many other unlawful tactics. My lawyers have resolutely met each challenge and worked to uncover the truth.
The report of the judicial enquiry by the Magistrate Shri S.P. Tamang, in September 2009, concluded that my daughter was innocent and had been murdered by Gujarat police officers and men. The SIT appointed by the Gujarat High Court, under the Chairmanship of Shri R.R. Verma, too concluded in 2011, that the encounter was fake and not genuine and that Ishrat Jehan had been killed in prior custody. Under directions of the Gujarat High Court the investigation was transferred to the CBI and a FIR for murder and other grave crimes lodged in 2011.
The CBI is investigating the murder of my daughter and 3 others. This investigation is being monitored by the Gujarat High Court and a status report of the investigation is regularly filed before the High Court. I have always placed my faith in the Court and pray that the Hon’ble High Court will ensure that my struggle for justice is not in vain. The CBI investigation has already led to the arrest of many senior Gujarat police officers and men. The CBI investigation has revealed that complicit in the staged fake encounter of Ishrat and 3 others in 2004, were not only police officers of Gujarat, but others as well.
The evidence collected by the CBI, as expressed to the High Court on the last date of hearing i.e. 14th June 2013, points to a larger conspiracy. The conspiracy appears to include Mr. Rajendra Kumar a senior officer of the Intelligence Bureau. The CBI counsel stated before the High Court on 14th June, 2013, that their investigation shows that IB Officer Mr. Rajendra Kumar not only knew about the illegal detention of my daughter Ishrat but was directing the operations. I am astonished and distressed to hear that attempts are being made to protect Mr. Rajendra Kumar from arrest and custodial interrogation by the CBI.
I am also surprised that the media is projecting the CBI investigation as an attack on the institution of IB. To my mind, what is worrying, if not dangerous, for the security of India, is if high ranking officers in institutions such as the IB, abuse their position and fabricate information, to advance a communal and politically motivated agenda. It is in the interest of the country if such people are weeded out of the IB and the security of all the people of India protected.
Clearly, the investigation of the CBI is moving in the right direction and to thwart it a very crude and motivated move was orchestrated, by planting some audio-tapes with a private media channel viz. Headlines Today. There is not a whisper of allegation against my daughter Ishrat Jehan in these socalled IB audio recordings. Significantly the timing of the broadcast of these tapes, on 13th June 2013, by a compliant private TV channel, the night before the hearing by the High Court, not only makes them highly suspect, but in fact betrays that they are desperate to shield the guilty. I would like to state here that my lawyers will be sending a legal notice and will initiate appropriate legal action against Headlines Today TV channel for the false, scandalous and defamatory statements made against my deceased daughter Ishrat Jehan.
When the next day the Additional Advocate General of Gujarat, brandished these planted and concocted CDs before the High Court, on 14th June, 2013 and made specious arguments for them to be taken on record, the nefarious design and purpose was clear to all. The Gujarat High Court not only rejected this fallacious plea of the State of Gujarat, but also sternly reminded it of its constitutional duty to protect its citizens and admonished it for continually obstructing the investigation into the staged encounter.
I strongly reject and denounce each and every allegation and statement that refers to my deceased daughter Ishrat Jehan as being a terrorist or having any links with any terrorist activity or group. In the past too attempts have been made to taint the name of deceased Ishrat by planting false, concocted and baseless news reports. What is significant is that the judicial enquiry and impartial and professional investigation have always upheld the innocence of Ishrat.
The State of Gujarat has on each hearing before the High Court argued strenuously to disrupt and disturb the CBI team that is investigating the killing of Ishrat and others. As I observe the progress of this investigation, I ask the following questions. Why is the State of Gujarat so keen, almost desperate to remove Mr. Satish Verma, IPS, from this investigation? What does the State of Gujarat fear this diligent and honest investigation will reveal? Who are the persons the State of Gujarat is trying to protect?
I have a right to know the complete truth – who killed my daughter Ishrat Jehan, who masterminded her murder, who stood to gain from the cold blooded killing of a young Muslim girl. I have a right to complete justice, and for that it is necessary that the entire conspiracy is unearthed and all those responsible for eliminating my innocent daughter are indicted, charged prosecuted and punished.
(Author is mother of mother of deceased Ishrat Jahan.)