The Ishrat Jahan case is getting murkier and murkier with increasing evidence that the UPA government is hiding the truth about who she really was.
Although the courts have categorically said that they are only concerned with whether or not Ishrat was the victim of an extra judicial killing and not whether or not she was a terrorist, the details coming to light are raising several important questions on the conduct of the government in this matter that cannot continue to be completely ignored.
Firstpost exclusively reported last month, that 26/11 mastermind David Headley had mentioned Ishrat Jahan while being interrogated in the United States:
Lakhvi told Headley he would be working with Muzammil Bhat, the full-bearded 6’4” giant in the room, who counted among the Lashkar’s most able operatives. Bhat’s achievements, Federal Bureau of Investigations interrogators recorded Headley as being told, included multiple strikes in Kashmir and recruiting a “female suicide bomber named Ishrat Jahaan
And now a new report in the Hindustan Times offers more damning evidence against the UPA government, as it clearly mentions that the MHA had not only received an NIA note on Headley's comments on Ishrat, but had also forwarded it to the highest levels of government within hours.
The matter seems to be more complicated as home ministry has found statement of Headley in its file pertaining to the encounter. After a senior Congress leader and BJP demanded clarification from the home ministry on whether Headley had mentioned Ishrat Jahan module in interrogation by the NIA on July 5, the home ministry found the NIA note (UO NO 04/2009/NIA/16/104 dated October 13, 2010) in its Ishrat Jahan file confirming the same.
It is understood that the NIA note was shown to home minister Sushilkumar Shinde the same day, who in turn informed the highest levels of government within hours.
This raises several questions on the conduct of the UPA government and its decision to remain silent on the evidence against Ishrat even as it has been making statements saying that those guilty of carrying out the alleged fake encounter should be punished:
1. why the NIA has chosen to be silent about this whole issue for so long, and evade a direct answer to the Gujarat High Court
2. why P Chidambaram, as Home Minister, excluded any mention of this from the David Headley interrogation shared with the media
3. why, since since Digvijaya Singh and the BJP have both asked the government to come clean on this, Sushil Kumar Shinde has chosen not to respond and clear the air
The possibility that the truth about Ishrat Jahan is being masked to facilitate political gain is getting harder and harder to dismiss, and even more disturbing is the fact that this looks like it is being done at the cost of the country's efforts to fight terrorism.
As Firstpost noted, Like all truths, the whole truth about Ishrat Jahan’s life and death likely won’t please anyone. It’s critical, though, to the credibility of India’s criminal justice system, and the future of our struggle against terrorism. Nothing anyone has done so far, though, suggests anyone really wants to tell the story—and nothing the CBI is doing gives reason to think that’s going to change.
First Published On : Jul 16, 2013 09:56 IST