Ishrat Jahan's mother gives up hope for justice

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Shamima Kauser, mother of Ishrat Jahan who was killed in a fake encounter along with three others, on Tuesday submitted a letter in the CBI court saying that she has left the case at the mercy of CBI to prosecute all 11 accused policemen and officers from Intelligence Bureau. She has said that "she feels hopeless and helpless" that even after 15 years of her daughter's murder trial has "barely started."

In the four-page letter submitted in the special CBI court by her lawyer, Shamshad Pathan on her behalf quotes her as saying, " I am heartbroken, and my spirit shattered, at the perpetuation of this culture of impunity. Thus, I have instructed my counsel, Advocate Vrinda Grover, that presently I have lost my will to fight, and can no longer participate in the proceedings before the CBI court. The long-drawn and labyrinthine judicial process has exhausted and frustrated me."

The impunity, Kauser has referred, is with regards to Gujarat government's denial of sanction to prosecute accused officers D G Vanzara and Narendra Amin who were exonerated on this ground by the special CBI court recently. The court had previously held that there is a prima facie case against these two accused.

"I know my daughter was innocent. I know my daughter was murdered as a result of a criminal conspiracy. I know that my daughter deserves justice and that this culture of impunity needs to be eradicated to protect the lives of many vulnerable innocent citizens. This, however, can't be my battle alone. It is now up to the CBI to see that the guilty are prosecuted and punished. I am told that the Indian judicial system provides justice to all, irrespective of their status and stature. I was waiting for justice to be done to me," Kauser is quoted as saying in the letter.

It says that "As a mother who lost her young daughter to a staged encounter orchestrated by the police at the behest of others, I call upon the CBI to secure the conviction of the accused police officers and other guilty persons. The need for transparency, accountability, and an end to impunity by men in uniform has never been more."

The letter says that "The State of Gujarat is on record as having supported the encounter killing of my daughter. For more than 15 years now, my children and I have lived with the sorrow and anguish of the fact that Ishrat was snatched away from us by a horrific criminal conspiracy and design because she was a Muslim woman, and it served political interests to project her as a dreaded terrorist. Because of this, my life and the lives of my children were forever jeopardised."

Shamima Kauser is the original complainant in the case in which CBI probe established that Ishrat Jahan, her friend Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai and two Pakistani nationals were killed in a staged encounter jointly by accused Gujarat policemen and officials from Intelligence Bureau in 2004. They were branded as Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives who were on a mission to kill then chief minister Narendra Modi to avenge 2002 post-Godhra riots. All the accused are on bail and some of the key suspects including ex DGP P P Pandey, DG Vanzara, NK Amin have been discharged from the case.

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