India

Indian media: Gujarat police charged with 'staged' killing of Ishrat Jahan

This file photo taken on 18 June 2004 shows Shamima Kausar (second from left) collecting the body of her daughter Ishrat Jahan from a hospital in Ahmedabad
Image caption The CBI says the victims were killed in a "staged encounter"

Media in India are giving extensive coverage to the charges filed against former top police officials of the western state of Gujarat in the killing of a female student, Ishrat Jahan.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's top investigation agency, on Wednesday told a court that police and intelligence officials killed Ishrat Jahan and three others in a "staged" clash in 2004.

The police and intelligence officials, however, deny the allegations - they say Ms Jahan and the others were part of a banned Pakistan-based militant group.

The Indian Express says the "CBI's charge-sheet in the encounter case details the role of intelligence officers".

"The four were taken to a place near Kotarpur waterworks, the encounter spot... on 15 June, 2004 and were killed in cold blood," The Times of India quotes from the "1,500-page chargesheet" filed by the CBI.

"The CBI's first chargesheet in the 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan encounter case... stated that the unlawful killing was a joint operation of the Gujarat police and the Intelligence Bureau and named seven state police officials as the accused," says The Hindu.

The Times of India says Ishrat Jahan's family were "relieved" after learning about the charges filed by the CBI.

"For the past nine years we have been saying… she was innocent. We are happy that the report reinforced it," the paper quoted Nusrat, Ishrat Jahan's sister, as saying.

Meanwhile, newspapers, including The Times of India, feel the federal government needs to raise a special force to curb the "menace" of the Maoist violence after the rebels killed six policemen in the eastern state of Jharkhand on Tuesday.

Staying with security issues, Defence Minister AK Antony has turned down a commerce ministry proposal to hike the cap on foreign direct investment in defence from 26% to 49%, calling it a "retrograde step" that could hamper the growth of indigenous defence sector, reports the Hindustan Times.

Shah Rukh Khan's baby

In news related to technology, India is set to double its internet population from 160 million to 330 million by 2015, The Hindu reports, citing a study by leading research firm McKinsey and Co.

Meanwhile, The Deccan Herald reports that marriages, which are believed to be made in heaven, are being "decided in laboratories" as many couples are opting for tests before going ahead with weddings.

"A matrimonial test, for the uninitiated, is a parameter to determine the compatibility of partners - especially on medical grounds. The tests typically include an HIV+ test, thalassaemia test and a check to match the couples' blood groups," the report adds.

And finally, the India Today reports that Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has confirmed the birth of his third baby, but the actor "refrained from speaking about the child's sex and other details".

"It is extremely personal and confidential and I would request everyone here tonight to have a great time. It's a little mix of sadness and happiness what's happening at this point of time," the actor said amid reports that the baby was born prematurely and was, therefore, underweight at the time of his birth.

Reports said the baby was born on 27 May through surrogacy and the actor finds himself in a controversy as authorities are investigating allegations that he sought to know the sex of the child before the birth, which is banned in India.

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