The Open Letter – Continuing saga

An interesting side – show in the Ishrat Jahan & Co. saga is the Open Letter written by one Shabnam Hashmi, a sister of one Safdar Hashmi, a communist playwright who while going about his business of staging street plays was killed by a mob of – hold your breath – congressmen.

Very ironical that a fervent communist would fall pray to his own party’s tactics and at the hands of the very people whom the sister takes as her confidante’.

But let’s get back to the sister’s urgings to the Pradhana Mantri and her arrogant demand that the Home Ministry apologise for its affidavit; An urging and a demand that has not yet been answered by either the spineless Pradhana Mantri or his pusillanimous Griha Mantri, effectively or otherwise. However one should not be surprised if they are seized of the subject matter. That’s evident isn’t it?

– Namaste

The Open Letter –

Mr Prime Minister Will You Please Listen?

By Shabnam Hashmi

An Open Letter to Hon’ble Prime Minister

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India

Dear Dr Manmohan Singh,

I had written a small article in The Hindustan Times in June 2004. It was called ‘Come Shoot Me: I am a Terrorist’. It was to express my anguish on Ishrat Jahan’s killing in Gujarat.

The Magisterial Enquiry, which is mandatory in every encounter case (and which was never done in the Batla House encounter) has finally termed it Ishrat Jahan’s killing as a fake encounter yesterday in a metropolitan court. (See the Indian Express report here) It is not a matter of surprise for us as we knew that she was killed in cold blood. Perhaps you will also agree that such things are happening and happened in Gujarat under Modi. But I am not writing to talk about how bad Modi is.

I am writing this to ask you a small favour.

I know you have absolutely hectic schedules and thousands of issues to handle so I am putting down here the facts, gathered from various media reports.

On June 15, 2003, the Ahmedabad city crime branch, then headed by the now jailed IPS officer D G Vanzara, shot four young people –Ishrat Jahan, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Jisan Johar. It was propagated that these four young people were alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operatives who were allegedly on mission to kill chief minister Narendra Modi.

Ishrat, was a 19-year old student of Khalsa College in Mumbra, a Mumbai suburb.

Ishrat’s mother filed a petition in the high court in 2004 demanding death compensation and a CBI probe. Ishrat Jahan’s mother’s Petition alleged that it was a fake encounter as one of the many that the present government regime in Gujarat headed by Narendra Modi had done to achieve Political Mileage to publicly create panic and sympathy that the Chief Minister was sought to be assassinated.

The crime branch carried out the operation and the same agency conducted investigation.

When the petition was heard by Justice KS Jhaveri , he immediately proposed, almost on line taken by the Supreme Court in the infamous Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, for which Vanzara was jailed along with other policemen, that a five-member team – all of the rank of additional DGP – should probe this case.

The encounter was done by the infamous D. G. Vanzara and his team who are presently arrested under Orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of fake encounter of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausarbi. Sohrabuddin’s encounter has been admitted by the state to be fake and recently on 11/08/2008, they have agreed to deposit an amount of Rs. 10.00 Lakhs as interim ex-gratia compensation for being paid to the Kith and Kin of the two.

There are allegedly 28 encounters which were fake and have been covered up.

In Ishrat Jahan’s matter the CBI was impleaded as a Party and it took a stand that if the Court so orders they are willing to carry out fresh investigations and unearth the truth. Such stand triggered panic with the State Government and it seems even with some Officers of Central Home Ministry. After UPA came to power some tainted CBI officers placed in Gujarat during the NDA with questionable track record were removed after a lot of pressure and almost two years but they soon found plush positions in Delhi under UPA regime.

To our dismay we realized last month through the media reports that the Ministry of Home Affairs in an affidavit stated that Ishrat, Javed and two others Jisan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were all operatives of Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Maintaining that the four were terrorists, the Union government told the high court, “No proposal for CBI investigation is under consideration of the Centre nor does it consider the present case fit for CBI probe.”

Moreover, the Centre claimed that there is no question of independent inquiry, as an additional DGP (CID & Intelligence) had carried out an independent probe into the incident and the officer is neither working with crime branch nor is he a subordinate to the crime branch, which carried out the operation and later investigated the case itself.”

If you remember Hon’ble prime Minister when I met you regarding the Package for the Gujarat 2002 victims along with other activists from Gujarat I had jokingly said, “The news that UPA has replaced NDA at the centre has not reached your Home Ministry as yet’. I had said this precisely in the connection of how the tainted officers promoted by the BJP were still being pampered under the UPA.

The reason behind filing of the Affidavit by the Central Government was to dissuade the Court from appointing a strong S I T and give a message that even the Central Government had approved the act of fake encounter. But for the magisterial enquiry the Central Home Ministry had left no stone unturned to prove that Ishrat deserved to be killed. (Pala S – This could be the reason our Law Minister now wants the affidavit reworked. So the Open Letter is working itself out already.)

The logic used always is what will happen to the morale of the officers. My question is what happens to the morale of the officers when they torture innocent young people, when they kill them, when they illegally detain them, beat them. What happens to their morale then? Do they just go home and sleep?

Why don’t we as nation stop playing the farce of being a secular nation and why don’t we remove the article from the constitution which says all citizens are equal? (Pala S – Terror suspects are equal to law-abiding and honest citizens?)

The affidavit filed by the Home Ministry is a proof of the fact that in Ishrat Jahan’s fake encounter case UPA has connived with the Gujarat government in a blatantly communal manner. With 3 days to go before assembly bye-election in 7 seats in Gujarat 5 more innocent boys have been picked up in Baroda and declared ‘terrorists’. (Pala S – Shabnam Hashmi seems to be in the know about the guilt or innocence of all Muslims. This even without the benefit of an obliging magistrate.)

I do not know if this letter will be also lost on the way and find itself in a dustbin as I have never received any acknowledgment from your office, so I will be forced to circulate it to others to lodge a strong protest against this blatant connivance of the Home Ministry with the Gujarat government. (Pala S – I’m almost certain the Pradhana Mantri was in tears now and being consoled by an inconsolable Law Minister)

My request to you is that if your government has any political will then please ask your home ministry to tender a public apology for filing the affidavit against the innocent girl who was so brutally murdered. It requires some courage and conviction.

You are fond of poetry.

Faiz ke chand lines apki nazar kar rahi hoon:

Tujh ko kitnon ka lahoo chahiye ae arz-i-watan,
Jo tiray arz-i-berang ko gulnaar karein
Kitni aahon se kaleja tira thanda hoga,
Kitne aansoo tiray sehraon ko gulzaar karein

(The blood of how many do you need O motherland;
That which will brighten your colourless earth;
How many sighs will soothe your heart;
How many tears will cause your deserts to bloom.)

Pala S – Ms Hashmi, not until Muslim killers roam this land will my Mother’s thirst for blood be quenched.

Sincerely Yours

Shabnam Hashmi

Member, National Integration Council

Cc: Media & fellow human rights activists

–Varta–

Palahalli S writes – Some observations;

1. Shabnam Hashmi is a diviner. She divines who is and is not a terrorist. She does not believe in investigations of any kind unless the people she hates are the targets of such investigations.

2. The Sohrabuddin “encounter” is yet to be proved a fake in a court of law. However during an internal probe the much maligned state police arrested the accused police officials who were involved in the killing on grounds that the encounter was fake. Diviners like Shabnam Hashmi are not satisfied. They now want to see a deep conspiracy against Muslims in general. It looks like they would want to delay the case going to trial, as far as possible. Are they not confident that their case against the accused cops will hold?

3. Amjad Ali alias Rajkumar Akbar Ali Rana and Jisan Johar Abdul Gani – No one has claimed their bodies till date but the learned Shri Tamang deduces that they are citizens of Hindusthan and not Pakistanis like the Gujarat police has claimed. How does Shri Tamang say this? No one knows nor cares to explain.

4. What about the LeT website’s firstly owning the terror suspects as theirs in 2004 and then disowning through an apology to Ishrat Jahan’s mother that Ishrat Jahan was not their operative – in 2007? See here for more details.

I wonder what Shabnam Hashmi would say in response to these observations?

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