Wednesday, June 19, 2013

IB’s role in Ishrat Jahaan fake encounter could show BJP’s involvement at national level….

Recent developments in the Ishrat Jahaan fake encounter case, which the CBI is investigating, point to a possible role the central government, then led by the BJP, might have had in furthering the anti-Muslim stance of Narendra Modi’s Gujarat government. There is no other possibility, considering that the BJP has itself always cited the IB as being a hand-maiden of the central government. If this is true, then the IB officer who “generated” the intelligence report around Ishrat Jahaan, which led to her death, must have been “instructed” by the BJP bosses in Delhi.

This is the problem with random allegations. They come back to bite you someday! When the NCTC was being discussed, the BJP took took offence to the fact that the NCTC chief would have to report into the IB, which was under the central government and which was “unaccountable” to anyone except the central government. If the BJP’s allegation about the IB being used by the central government for political purposes is true, then surely the same must have been true when it was ruling at the center. It is in this context that the politics around the investigation of the IB official by the CBI should be seen.

What has been established as a fact is that the encounter was a fake encounter, and the accused were butchered in broad daylight by state cops. This proves that the state government was complicit in the act. But what is now coming out is that the IB official, Rajinder Kumar, had supplied the intelligence input that a “group of LeT terrorists” was coming to Ahmedabad to kill Modi (source: today’s TOI). How the Gujarat cops linked that to Ishrat Jahaan is unclear, nor has it been proven that she was indeed the mentioned terror suspect. Even so she was gunned down. Today however, the issue is no longer about whether she was a terrorist or not. It is about the way Narendra Modi’s government and possibly, the central BJP government handled her case. Does the BJP support shooting them in broad daylight, under an assumption that they are guilty?

This obviously is not the only case in which Modi’s government has behaved in this manner. The same DIG who killed Ishrat Jahaan – Vanjara of the Ahmedabad Police – was also involved in another fake encounter – the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh – for which he has in fact been arrested. Vanjara’s – and by extension – Modi’s style was simple. Assume a muslim to be guilty, take the law in your own hands, and bring instantaneous justice to the alleged culprits.

Modi has been panned enough for this. And he is unrepentant. His attitude is that this is the right way to handle matters. He is unapologetic about his style, and in fact pushes such stories to underline his “iron man” image. What is surprising – and damaging to the BJP nationally – however is that the central government – headed by the “moderate” and “strong” leader Vajpayee – could have been complicit in Modi’s disastrous pattern of murders. Does Vajpayee even deserve the moderate tag if this is found to be true? Would a moderate leader allow such killings? And considering that the killings took place over an extended period of time (Jahaan was in 2004; Sohrabuddin in 2005), is it at all possible that this was a mere one-time slip on Vajpayee’s part? Or is it that Vajpayee could never control Modi? That in spite of all the “raj dharma” talk, he could not prevent his own CM from acting in this wayward manner? Is this evidence of Vajpayee being a strong leader? The CBI’s investigation into the IB official is to be seen in this context. It’s ramifications go way beyond Gujarat, and smear a person no less than the BJP’s only “statesman” Vajpayee. It’s surprising that the political connection to the investigation has not yet been brought out in the media.

The BJP – when it realizes what is going on here – will no doubt claim that the CBI is acting on the Congress’s behest. As is its wont, it will coin a few more abuses for the investigating agency. But it can not square this against its insistence during the NCTC debate that the IB is part and parcel of the central government, and officially takes instructions from it. Nor will it be able to explain why the IB officer was present during the investigation of Ishrat Jahaan in Ahmedabad – proving that the centre was completely on-board with the way the matter was being handled. Besides, with Modi now the almost-certain PM candidate of the BJP, it hardly matters whether the issue stays limited to Gujarat and Modi, or extends to the center.

I would like to do a little bit of “connecting the dots” as has become fashionable in India these days! The IB’s intelligence inputs happened in 2004, the only time when the BJP was ruling both at the center and in Gujarat. Everyone knows Modi is a hardliner. Everyone also knows that Advani was the Home Minister at the center, and he had defended Modi and saved his skin on the post-Godhra riots matter. It is also a known fact that Advani was a hardliner as well, being most responsible for the Babri Masjid demolition. Connecting the dots would imply that the complicity of the central government is obvious. It’s truly an open and shut case. If one were to go by the BJP’s style, one should declare Advani and Modi as convicts. But we’ll not do. We’ll wait for the courts to decide!

The real truth is that the BJP’s central government probably supported Modi’s hardline practices with respect to Muslims. Ishrat Jahaan is a possible instance of this. This would indicate that the reign of terror perpetrated by the BJP against the minorities in general, and Muslims in particular, was spread throughout the country. It was part of the party’s political strategy, egged on and supported by its parent RSS and siblings VHP and Bajrang Dal. It would hardly be surprising then if its seniormost leaders – including Advani and Vajpayee – were found to be part of the terror reign….

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