In a revelation that is sure to send shock waves across India, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley in his latest deposition said that Ishrat Jahan, the 19-year-old girl who was killed in an alleged ‘fake encounter’ in 2004, was a suicide bomber for LeT.
Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley, currently lodged in a U.S. prison, has been deposing as an approver through a video link in the November 2008 terror attacks case.
Jahan, a resident of Mumbra near Mumbai, was a college student in western Maharashtra.
Headley, in the deposition, also said that LeT has a women’s wing. He also said that he was told that a woman named Ishrat Jahan was killed in the shootout.
According to public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam: “We gave three names for LeT’s women suicide bomber to David Headley and Ishrat Jahan is the name he recognised.”
However, according to her lawyer, Headley’s statement could not be taken on record as he didn’t name Ishrat Jahan himself, but after multiple choice options given to him.
On June 15, 2004, Ishrat Jahan Raza and three others Pranesh Pillai (alias Javed Gulam Sheikh), Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter by the Ahmedabad Police.
The police claimed that the four were connected with the LeT and had come to Gujarat to assassinate the then chief minister Narendra Modi in order to avenge the communal riots of 2002 which had led to the deaths of numerous Muslims.
The encounter had taken the turn for the worse when there were inconsistencies found in the police version of the events, and this in turn triggered an uproar within Gujarat.
The controversy had continued over the years and in 2009, Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate SP Tamang had even called the encounter fake.
After Tamang’s declaration, the Gujarat high court had taken things into their own hands and ordered an inquiry into the incident.
The inquiry, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and a special investigation team (SIT) though found no connection between the Jahan and the LeT and police in turn faced a lot of flack for it.
Headley’s revelation with regard to Jahan is now set to open a can of worms as Headley himself has admitted he was part of the LeT and his revelation will now question how CBI and SIT conducted their probe.
Soon after Headley’s revelation, a national news channel got in touch with Ishrat’s family where her sister, Musarrat Jahan said that Ishrat was innocent, and that “a terrorist” cannot be trusted.
She reiterated that Ishrat Jahan’s death was part of a large conspiracy with big names involved in the alleged fake encounter.