Targeting Narendra Modi over the alleged fake encounter of Mumbra resident Ishrat Jahan in 2004, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said in Thane that the chief minister and the Gujarat police had killed an innocent college girl by branding her as a terrorist.
"Modi had then announced that he was proud of his police force for gunning down terrorists. He boasted that the encounter was a feather in the cap of the Gujarat police, while the Mumbai police had failed to do their duty," Pawar said on his visit to Mumbra on Sunday.
"Ishrat was innocent but she was projected as a terrorist. Now, the incident is haunting the Gujarat government. It was MLA Jitendra Awhad who took up the cause and fought a long legal battle to prove her innocence and expose the Gujarat police," he said.
On June 15, 2004, four persons -- 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan, along with Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar -- were killed in an encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Gujarat police claimed that they were terrorists who had come to the city to kill Modi.
Addressing a public meet in Mumbra on Sunday night, he appealed to the Maharashtra government to remove the power cuts imposed on the township so that the area improves.
"For the sake of a few who were indulging in nefarious activities why should others suffer," Pawar asked.
Mumbra was once a haven for all kinds of anti-social activities and criminals, who sought refuge here...but now the situation has changed. Hence the government and society should change its outlook towards the township which is undergoing drastic reformation, he said.
Making a pitch for the Nationalist Congress Party in the Muslim stronghold ahead of the 2014 elections, Pawar thanked the people for reposing their confidence in the party and said it will continue to give back to the voters by way of development work in the area.
"You should help both your (NCP) representatives (Jitendra) Awhad and (Anand) Paranjpe to serve you in future also," he said.
The NCP chief said that he would ensure that the town gets a modern abattoir and also a fish market. "As the chief of the party, I will also make sure that there is no dearth of funds for the Islamic Research Centre which is coming up in the town," he added.