Has the Congress really stood up for Ishrat Jahan?

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New Delhi, April 20: A verbal duel breaks out every now and then where Ishrat Jahan is concerned. The Congress blames the BJP of carrying out a fake encounter on an "innocent girl."

The BJP on the other hand accuses the Congress of twisting the facts only with an intention of showing in poor light the Gujarat police.

Cong really stood up for Ishrat Jahan?

Many in the Congress have gone to town stating that the encounter is fake and the Gujarat police killed an innocent girl. The question is did the Congress really do anything to stand by Ishrat Jahan. These sequence of events do not indicate that the Congress was standing by Ishrat.

Congress had opposed Ishrat's mother's plea:
The Congress continued to brand Ishrat Jahan a terrorist indirectly through the affidavits it had filed in court. When a magistrate report in Gujarat had termed the encounter as fake, Ishrat Jahan's mother had moved the High Court seeking an inquiry into the matter.

Read more: Ishrat Jahan Case - Story Until Now

The Congress filed an affidavit in the High Court opposing the plea made by Ishrat's mother. The affidavit had quoted newspaper reports referring to a magazine published by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. According to the Ghaza Times, a mouth piece of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba Ishrat was a member of the outfit. This was quoted in the affidavit in 2009 when the Congress was in power.

These initial affidavits that were filed by the Congress never once said in clear terms whether Ishrat was a terrorist or not. The affidavits continued to quote the Ghazwa Times article and not intelligence inputs. All the Congress had indicated was that they were giving her the benefit of the doubt.

What changed?

It was only later that the Congress began taking a more aggressive stand on the issue. However there were still many loop holes in the argument. There was absolutely no clarity on what Ishrat was doing with the rest of the persons at the time of the encounter. At no point in time did any of the investigating agencies including the CBI state that the rest were innocent.

In fact at this time a war had broken out between the CBI and the Intelligence Bureau, both under the control of the union government. In fact when the CBI sought to question the then joint director of the IB, Rajinder Kumar, the same was opposed by the chief of the agency, Asif Ibrahim.

Read more: What all secular media said about Ishrat Jahan few years ago

It may be recalled that it was the Congress which appointed Ibrahim by bypassing others. Ibrahim had in fact said that the intelligence input relating to Ishrat was true. He was clearly not asked to change that line by the government in power then.

The former Home Secretary G K Pillai made a startling claim in which he stated that it was the insistence of the then home minister, P Chidambaram that the affidavits were changed. Chidambaram had said that it was a collective decision. The BJP says that the Ishrat issue had become big for the Congress as they wanted to keep the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi down.

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