Ishrat family says Modi could have been involved

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ISHRATMUMBAI, July 3;Calling it a half-won battle for justice to Ishrat Jahan, her family on Wednesday said those who planned the encounter in which she and three others were killed should have been named in the charge sheet the CBI filed in the Gujarat High Court, along with those who killed her.

The family said it suspected Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi could have been involved in the June 15, 2004 killings on an empty road between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

“We have been telling the world for the past 10 years that Ishrat was never a terrorist, and she was killed in a fake encounter. But nobody believed us. The charge sheet filed by the CBI confirms our claim. But apart from those who killed Ishrat, those who planned the encounter should also be named in the charge sheet,” Ishrat’s younger sister Nusarat said at a press conference here. She said Mr. Modi could have been involved.

Ms. Nusarat said the family’s fight for justice should not be seen as a battle between Hindus and Muslims. “She was a poor girl, who was helping her family out after her father’s death. … even Hindus have supported us in our battle. Her death shattered all our dreams, and nobody can even imagine what we had gone through after her death,” she said.

Ishrat’s mother Shamima said that for 10 years, her family had to bear with the terror tag. “My daughter could not get married. My son could not get a job. Those who made us suffer all this should be hanged.”

The police had claimed that all the four belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba and had come to assassinate Mr. Modi. Jitendra Awhad, executive president of the Nationalist Congress Party, who has been supporting the family since the killing, said the alleged involvement of the Intelligence Bureau cast suspicion on senior political leaders of Gujarat. “As per the norm, the Intelligence Bureau provides information to Chief Minister. It should also be probed whether [Mr.] Modi knew of the detention of these four.”

The family will visit Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with an appeal for a fair and speedy trial.

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