Silence is sometimes mistaken as admission – at least the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Gujarat thinks so.
The state government plans to launch an intense damage-control exercise to make up for the ground it had lost by keeping mum over several issues during 2002-07.
A senior member in Narendra Modi’s cabinet, who refused to be identified, said, “Now, we have decided to go all out and reply to each and every allegation.”
He said, for instance, the allegations of fake encounters of Ishrat Jahan Shamim Raza, a 19-year-old Mumbai college student, and three others should have been promptly replied to.
Ishrat Jahan and the three were picked up in Maharashtra and killed in the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004 in an alleged fake encounter on the charge of being involved in terrorist activities.
The minister said, “Modi has been projected as a dictator and Gujaratis killers. The encounters were played up mainly because the government chose not to react.”
He said after Metropolitan Magistrate SP Tamang’s report on the encounter, “for one day, the state government did not reply. Then the reply came from official channels, putting the ball in their (Congress’) court. And the result was a drama between two Union ministries.”
Gujarat health and family welfare minister and government spokesman Jay Narayan Vyas distributed copies of a Union Home Ministry affidavit, indicating that Ishrat and the three had terrorist links, triggering a debate between the Union Law and Home ministries.