With regard to the central government’s affidavit on killings of Ishrat Jahan and her friends in an alleged fake encounter, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has said that it was “not evidence or conclusive proof”.
On his visit to the US, Chidambaram said while talking to reporters in Washington: “What is wrong with the affidavit? To the best of my knowledge the affidavit says that intelligence inputs were shared with the Gujarat government.”
He was speaking after meeting the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and said that the affidavit “must be read in context”.
The minister’s aforementioned statement came in response to a question about the home ministry’s viewpoint following a magisterial inquiry in Gujarat that said Ishrat Jahan and three others were not terrorists and had been killed by police officials in cold blood in 2005.
“You cannot read into it what it does not say. I think it is self-evident that intelligence inputs are not evidence, much less conclusive proof. They are just inputs. They are shared with governments on a regular basis. That is not evidence or conclusive proof. It gives leads to investigations and further enquiry,” he stated.
It may be mentioned that Ishrat, a college student, and her friends Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Shaikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were shot dead by the Ahmedabad police’s Crime Branch on the outskirts of the Gujarat city June 15, 2004. Police said that they were Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists and were conspiring to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The Indian home ministry had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, maintaining that the four had links with the LeT.
Ahmedabad’s metropolitan magistrate SP Tamang’s probe report released on Monday, on the other hand, said that there was no shootout between the four and the police. The report said that the four were students and had been kidnapped from Mumbai on June 12, 2004, and killed two days later.