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Ishrat, Modi, Gandhis And 'Liberals'

The brutal truth is that killing people in 'encounters' is routine in most states, and the Ishrat Jahan case reveals that in India even basic human rights are subject to your ideological and political leanings

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The resurfacing of the controversial Ishrat Jahan "fake encounter" case raises many troubling questions. Was Ishrat Jahan really an operative of the LeT? Is it all right in a democracy that professes to be civilized to kill a suspected terrorist in cold blood? Was Ishrat Jahan used as a tool to try and "fix" Narendra Modi? Anyone with basic common sense and a modicum of honesty will say an unhesitatingly yes to the third question. There can be no doubt that the Congress and a bunch of "liberal" and "secular" journalists and activists colluded in this cynical move. And the "human rights" tears being shed for Ishrat Jahan even today by the same players is so much of hogwash. Muslims and even women have been killed in "encounters" in 2015 and 2016 without the "liberals" shedding a fraction of tears they have shed for Ishrat Jahan. Consider the following "facts".

On April 7, 2015, five Muslim undertrials, Viqaruddin, Amjad Ali, Mohammed Hanif, Zakir Ali and Izhar Khan - were being taken in a van by 17 policemen from the Warangal central prison to a court in Hyderabad. Apparently some of the prisoners who were handcuffed attempted to "snatch away" weapons from the cops escorting them. To protect themselves, the cops were "forced" to open fire. All five were killed in "exchange". For a while, there were some murmurs of protest. But the whole incident simply disappeared from the media radar in just a few days. Almost a year down the road, this author has not come across any "liberal" journalist or activist doggedly pursuing the case and try to punish the policemen (or Telangana chief minister K.C. Rao under whose watch all this happened) for the "encounter". Ask yourself: do you even remember this gruesome killing of five Muslims?

A few days after this, "news" emerged that the Andhra Pradesh police had killed about 25 red sand "smugglers" operating in border areas close to Tamil Nadu. Most of those killed in this "encounter" were poor and belonged to backward castes. There was a furore and human rights activists did protest strongly. But the issue received more prominence because the Jayalalithaa-led government of Tamil Nadu protested strongly. Yet, within a week, "encounter" disappeared from media glare. This author does not recall any "liberal" activist or journalist who keep breast beating about Ishrat Jahan doggedly pursue this gruesome killing of about 25 fellow citizens in cold blood. Nor has this author heard, read or seen any loud voices persistently demanding accountability from the Andhra chief minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu.

As recently as January, 2016, there was another successful "operation" that was barely covered by media outlets. Apparently, a police team in Odisha came under fire from Maoists in a forest area. The cops "returned" fire and a "dreaded" Maoist "commander Sushil was killed. His wife Sony, another Maoist, was also killed in the operation. This author does not recall a single TV discussion or single protest meet or a single candle light march to protest against the killing of a woman in this manner by special forces.

Why this obsession then with Ishrat Jahan? The brutal truth is: "encounter" are routine in most Indian states. That does raise troubling questions about the quality and depth of Indian democracy. For Indians who are not blind supporters of Modi or full of hatred towards him, these are troubling questions indeed. These troubling questions persist even in older and more "liberal" democracies like America where cops routinely kill African American "criminals" in "encounters".

The Ishrat Jahan controversy that has persisted for 12 long years reveals just one thing: in India, even basic human rights are subject to your ideological and political leanings.

Tags assigned to this article:
police gujarat ishrat jahan narendra modi