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 India to re-examine student death

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PostSubject: India to re-examine student death   Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:35 pm


India to re-examine student death



Mr Modi has been criticised over his handling of the 2002 riots


The killing of a student and three others by police in the Indian state of Gujarat is to be re-investigated by a court-appointed committee.
Ishrat Jahan Raza was one of four people shot dead by Gujarat police in 2004 on suspicion of being part of a banned Pakistani-based militant group.
But the victims' relatives say they were killed in a staged clash during a so-called "fake encounter".
The Gujarat police have denied the allegation levelled at them.
They say the victims were members of the banned Pakistani-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Gujarat state government was last week ordered by India's Supreme Court to compensate the relatives of a Muslim man killed by police in a staged clash in 2007.
The Gujarat police had admitted at an earlier hearing that Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed in a staged gun battle.
Three policemen were charged with the murder of Mr Sheikh, accused of having attempted to cover up the killing by claiming he belonged to an Islamic militant group.
Human rights groups have repeatedly expressed concerns about so-called "fake encounters" whereby security forces are accused of unprovoked killings in staged clashes.
'Plot'
Police say that Ishrat Jahan Raza and the others who were killed were involved in a plot to kill the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi.
The Gujarat high court has appointed a committee of three senior policemen for a fresh investigation into the killings and asked it to submit its report by the end of November.
The four were driving near the airport of Gujarat's main city, Ahmedabad, when they were intercepted.
Later police in Mumbai (Bombay) said that 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan Raza had no criminal background and had never been involved in any terrorist activity, as claimed by the police in Gujarat.
Gujarat, in western India, was wracked by religious violence in 2002.
The riots left at least 1,000 dead - most of them Muslims. The riots began when a mob - believed to be mostly Muslim - set fire to a train compartment carrying Hindu activists.
Mr Modi is a member of the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and has been accused of not doing enough to prevent the riots.
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