India's 'next prime minister' blamed for killings
THE man tipped to be India's next prime minister has been blamed by a police chief over a series of "fake encounter killings" – the extrajudicial murders of terrorist or criminal suspects.
A series of "encounter killings" carried out between 2002 and 2007 was in accordance with the policy of Narendra Modi's Gujarat government, DG Vanzara said in a letter sent from Sabarmati Central Prison, where he has been awaiting trial since 2007.
Mr Vanzara, a former Inspector General of Police, is accused of ordering the "encounter" killings of four terrorist suspects in Gujarat.
"Fake encounter killings" is the term for extra-judicial killings, commonly used in India and Pakistan to describe a murder in custody of a suspect. There have been more than 550 such killings in India in the past four years.
The "encounter killings" that Mr Vanzara is accused of staging include Ishrat Jahan (19) and Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a purported gun-runner, who were alleged by the police to be Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists plotting to assassinate Mr Modi, Gujarat's controversial Hindu nationalist chief minister, in revenge for his failure to stop a massacre of Muslims in riots throughout the state in 2002.
He said that he and 32 other officers in custody on encounter killing charges had acted in accordance with the policies of Mr Modi's government. A spokesman for the Gujarat government said Mr Vanzara's letter "has no value". (© Daily Telegraph, London)