Javed Ahmed Shaikh took 14 bullets from assorted weapons, including AK-47s, while he sat helplessly behind the steering wheel of the blue Indica car. When he left his father’s house in Kerala on 5 June 2004, he did not have the slightest idea that he was driving towards his death that was awaiting him at Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
As he was driving through Karnataka towards his hometown Pune in Maharashtra, he received a phone call late in the night of 6 June. A mysterious call from Gandhinagar asking him to immediately come over to Gujarat. A call that he could not disobey. Javed did not stop at Pune and kept driving towards Ahmedabad. On the way, he first drove to Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar city, where he dropped his wife and children at his sister-in-law’s house on 9 June.
On the morning of 11 June, after a day’s rest at Ahmednagar, Javed started for Ahmedabad via Nasik. He reached Vasad in Gujarat around noon and to his utter shock, two police officers from Gujarat literally abducted him along with his car and drove him to a farm on the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway in Ahmedabad.
Early in the morning of 15 November, around 3 am, he was driven in the same Indica car, along with another person he did not know and a girl named Ishrat Jahan, to a lonely spot near the Kotarpur Water Works in the Sardarnagar area of Ahmedabad. A large posse of policemen were waiting for the rendezvous. Ishrat was dragged out of the car and then the firing started. Javed and the other person sitting at the back of the car were mowed down. He didn’t live to see Ishrat being shot in her head and pushed next to him in the car, nor did he see the third man who was blindfolded and gunned down outside the car.
The nation was told that Javed, Ishrat and the other two men shot down that morning were Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives who had come to Gujarat to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Coincidentally, the same story had been told a couple of times earlier: when Samir Khan Pathan was gunned down in 2002 and also when Sadiq Jamal was shot dead on 13 January 2003. The modus operandi in all three cases was the same.
In 2005, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi were killed under the cover of similar allegations. Tulsi Prajapati met the same fate in 2006. Four young Kashmiris from a madrasa near Surat were gunned down in March 2006, and guess why? Because they wanted to kill Modi!
Now that almost all these so-called encounters have been established as fake by investigation agencies functioning under the orders of either the Supreme Court or the Gujarat High Court, the big question is: who was organising these killings to promote the myth that jihadi terrorists were after Modi’s life? Who were the people in authority that could manufacture false intelligence inputs to justify the murder of innocent citizens, including teenagers like Ishrat.
One name that has repeatedly surfaced for allegedly not only creating many such false inputs but also actively participating in the murder conspiracies is Rajendra Kumar, the then Joint Director of the Intelligence Bureau posted at Ahmedabad during 2003-04. There is overwhelming evidence in the Sadiq Jamal case, with the Bhavnagar Superintendent of Police naming Kumar as the person who phoned him on 29 November 2002, asking him to detain Sadiq. In the Ishrat-Javed case, the CBI has even uncovered evidence establishing that Kumar participated in meetings with police officers conspiring to kill Javed and the others.
The BJP and its prominent leaders, however, are trying hard to tarnish the CBI’s image in order to scare them off from arresting Kumar. Perhaps they are worried that many top BJP leaders may be next in line in case Kumar is arrested. If the CBI fails to apprehend Kumar, it would be a failure of the rule of law. We have to wait and watch. Will our great democracy win or will a handful of killers write the future of this nation?