It appears that Hindustan Times and its Delhi based correspondent, Abhishek Saran, are leaving no stone unturned in tarnishing the reputation of Ishrat Jahan. When they can find no material or factual basis to do so, misleading headlines and insinuations are pressed into service. I have already written two letters to you pointing out the false and baseless headlines being provided in Saran’s stories. It was apparent that the sole purpose of these headlines was to malign Ishrat Jahan’s reputation by concocting and implying a ‘guilt through association’.
This pattern is continuing, despite two letters to you, and despite the fact that Hindustan Times was forced to retract the headline in one case.
Today, on 11th July, again a boxed news item on the front-page story, with a detailed story in the inside pages, mischievously refers to Amjad Ali, one of those killed in the 2004 fake encounter as Ishrat’s ‘friend’. The headline in the short stories column reads, “Ishrat companion had old bullet injury”, and the full story on pg. 10 carries the headline, “Ishrat ‘friend’ got gunshot wound treated in Delhi”. The chargesheet filed before the Gujarat court shows that there was no association of Ishrat Jehan with Amjad Ali, and she was abducted and illegally confined elsewhere by Gujarat police. By repeatedly falsely linking Ishrat Jehan to terrorism, Abhishek Saran’s malicious stories in Hindustan Times are trying to manufacture a public opinion against Ishrat Jahan, and are in fact an incitement to violence against the family of Ishrat Jahan.
The newspaper, and in particular the above named correspondent, will be held responsible if any harm comes to the family of Ishrat Jahan or those involved in the struggle.
You are required to promptly publish a clarification retracting the false and misleading claim made by the title of the article and issue a public apology for defaming deceased Ishrat Jehan and causing injury and pain to her family. The retraction and public apology should be given the same prominence and published on the front page, as the false title in Hindustan Times on 11th July 2013.
Please note that your newspaper Hindustan Times and correspondent Mr. A Saran are legally liable for the false and malicious reports published repeatedly by Hindustan Times. This is my third letter to you pointing out the false and baseless campaign being conducted by your newspaper, Hindustan Times, against the deceased daughter of my client Shamima Kauser. It is apparent that these baseless and false headlines are being given to mislead the reader amounting to a gross abuse of the freedom of press and to cause irreparable harm not only to Shamima Kauser but to general society as well.
You are also required to publish all my three letters in this regard in Hindustan Times and immediately halt the false and motivated vilification campaign being carried out by you through the repeated publication of baseless, malicious and unsubstantiated articles authored by your correspondent Abhishek Saran. No due diligence is being exercised at any level, by the Editor and/or other senior persons at Hindustan Times, making them all culpable and liable under law.
Please acknowledge the receipt of all my three letters addressed to you, which have been sent via email.
Lawyer for Shamima Kauser
(Mother of deceased Ishrat Jahan)