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'Don't glorify criminals': BJP

BJP asks not to glorify those who were gunned down by police in the fake encounter, reports Shekhar Iyer.

delhi Updated: Apr 27, 2007 22:50 IST

As Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi faced a new political crisis following his government's admission before the Supreme Court about fake encounters deaths, the BJP released a list of offences against Sohrabuddin Sheikh who was among those killed.
BJP's deputy leader V K Malhotra said that he and others who were gunned down by police were not "innocent" and should not be "glorified" so.

Prefacing his remark that the BJP believed in the rule of law and did not wish to comment on the "fake encounter" as the Supreme Court was seized of the issue, Malhotra said glorification of the victims as "innocent persons" would not be correct.
At least 50 cases were registered in various states against those killed, he said in what appeared to the party's bid to defend the Modi government over the arrest of two Gujarat IPS officials for the fake encounter killings.

The list - furnished by the Modi government-showed that Sohrabuddin Sheikh had twelve cases registered against him, three of them in Maharashtra, two in Madhya Pradesh and one in Rajasthan. He was mostly charged under the Arms Act and the National Security Act.

"What we wish to emphasise is that it would be wrong to glorify the 'victims'. They were not innocent," Malhotra said when he was asked whether the BJP justified killing of anybody because of his or her criminal record.

Malhotra produced another list that showed 56 cases, some of them under the Arms Act, TADA and POTA, were registered against Tulsiram Prajapati, another man shot dead by the Gujarat police.

The BJP leader did not support the Congress' demand for a CBI probe into the encounter killings. "Let the Supreme Court make a decision. It's superior to the CBI, which will do what the ruling Congress would like it to," he remarked.

On Tuesday, the Gujarat police arrested its Deputy Inspector General (Border Range) D G Vanzara and Rajkumar Pandian, superintendent of police with the Intelligence Bureau, and M N Dinesh Kumar (Rajasthan police) on the charge of murdering Sohrabuddin Sheikh.

Sohrabuddin was killed by the Gujarat police in a fake encounter on November 26, 2005 as admitted by the Gujarat government before the Supreme Court.

First Published: Apr 27, 2007 22:46 IST