Gujarat state Chief Minister Narendra Modi. —Photo by Reuters

NEW DELHI: India appeared headed for more embarrassment in its anti-terror talks with Pakistan after the Gujarat High Court on Monday admitted a high-level probe report stating that an alleged encounter death of a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) suspect in 2004 was faked by police.

Acting on the game-changing report by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) about the Ishrat Jehan encounter by police under Chief Minister Narendra Modi's administration, the Gujarat High Court ordered that murder charges be framed against the offending police officers.

India's federal Intelligence Bureau too had supported the claim that a Lashkar plot was under way in 2004 to kill Mr Modi and it was concluded at some level to have pointed to Ishrat Jehan and her alleged LeT team.

The SIT submitted its final report in the case saying that Ms Ishrat along with Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed prior to the date of the alleged encounter on June 15, 2004.

However, the state crime branch then claimed that Ms Ishrat along with others were killed in a shootout. The crime branch had claimed that the four were members of the LeT terror group and were on a mission to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Gujarat government spokesperson Jai Narayan Vyas said: “What are being discussed in media are some pointers that emerged during the debate on this case and certain observations by the High Court. As a state government we believe that court judgments are not meant for commenting upon and we fully respect the process of law and whatever is and shall be the judgment of the court.”

In 2010, an independent judicial inquiry by Justice S. P. Tamang too had concluded that the crime branch was at fault. He had even said that weapons had been planted on the victims.

Indian Muslims have been frequently alleged to be Pakistani terrorists.

They are held and tortured for attacks, for example, the blasts in Malegaon and the Samjhauta Express. But these were later shown to have been the handiwork of Hindu extremists. Mr Modi is seen widely as a Muslim baiter, a strategy that has worked for him in instilling insecurities among the Hindus, many of whom then voted for him in two state elections since the anti-Muslim pogroms of 2002.

Pakistani officials have used the apparent role of Hindu extremists in major blasts to remind India that terrorism is not merely confined to Muslim extremists from Pakistan but was increasingly becoming the preferred method of Hindu extremists to push their political agenda.



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