19 January, 2021

Encounters & Specialists

How will the Ishrat case charges affect Modi’s national ambitions? Is it to be the ‘grand conspiracy’ game again?

AFP (From Outlook 15 July 2013)
Encounters & Specialists

In The Lovely Bones, writer Alice Sebold uses a fabulous technique whereby a teenaged girl who is murdered goes on to recount the quirky, ordinary story of her life and that of those affected by her death. For the dead do have stories to tell. They are only a statistic till they get a backstory, and when a personality is fleshed out, they too can touch a chord with ordinary citizens. Especially if the end was brutal and the victim young.

Ishrat Jahan was just 19 when she was shot dead at point-blank range in what has become one of the most famous, controversial and contested fake encounters in contemporary Indian history. Nine years after her body was found dumped on a road in Ahmedabad, she could become the face that haunts the very ambitious plans of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. She makes an attractive victim, so her story has adequate appeal for the media to keep playing it up at every twist and turn the case takes in a general election year.

Conversely, BJP leaders have begun to argue in private that a “Muslim victim and her very...



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