Doubts over 'Pakistan gunmen' foiled by India

Many people doubt the credibility of police accounts just as the Indian government is trying to show the world that Pakistan is behind attacks on its soil.

Doubts over 'Pakistan gunmen' foiled by India

Doubts have been raised about police reports of a foiled attack on India's capital blamed on Pakistani gunmen, with newspapers wondering if the whole episode might have been staged.

Police on Sunday said they killed two gunmen after a car chase in Noida city on the outskirts of New Delhi on the eve of Republic Day. AK-47 rifles, grenades and a Pakistani passport were recovered, according to officials.

But the story sounded to some newspapers too good to be true. The militants not only conveniently carried Pakistani identification, they also asked for directions outside Delhi with an AK-47 poking out of a bag, and then confessed before dying.

The incident came amid heightened tension with Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks late last year.

"(The doubts) hurt India's credibility more now than ever before, especially as India is now under international focus," retired Major-General Ashok Mehta told Reuters.

Surprisingly, India's foreign ministry and home ministry have both been silent on the case.

Many people doubt the credibility of police accounts just as the Indian government is trying to show the world that Pakistan is behind attacks on its soil.

While similar incidents have been reported on the eve of many Republic Days, they did not have the same impact pre-Mumbai.

But while the threat is real, doubts about the police will not go away.

"The problem is credibility of the police and the fact that nobody believes the police these days," Julio Ribeiro, former Mumbai police commissioner, told Reuters.

India's human rights commission is investigating a previous gunbattle in New Delhi last year against two suspected gunmen after media alleged it could have been faked.

In Sunday's incident, the police came from one of India's most lawless and corrupt states, Uttar Pradesh.

"These encounters are very murky," said Ajai Sahni, executive director at the Institute for Conflict Management.

"The fact that it happened in UP raises more doubts, but that doesn't mean it was a fake encounter."

Reuters
Last Mod: 27 Ocak 2009, 15:44
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