Headley confirms Ishrat as LeT fidayeen
New Delhi: Pakistani-American terrorist David C Headley has said that Ishrat Jahan, the Mumbai girl who was shot dead by Gujarat police along with three other alleged terrorists in a 2004 encounter, was indeed a Lashkar-e-Toiba fidayeen.
As per a report published in a leading daily on Monday, Headley revealed to National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths that Ishrat was an active LeT operative, who was recruited by Muzammil, who was in-charge of terror outfit’s operations in India till 2007.
Besides shedding light on LeT’s operations in India, Headley’s statement also exposes and corroborates the version of Gujarat police as well as the Centre about Ishrat Jahan’s involvement in terror activities.
The police had claimed that Muzammil had directed Ishrat and her accomplices to spread terror in Gujarat and target VIPs including Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The encounter had created a political storm as doubts were raised over the veracity of the police version.
Shortly after the 2004 encounter, LeT claimed that Ishrat was its fidayeen through its Lahore-based mouthpiece `Ghazwa Times`.
However in 2007, LeT, which was then rechristened as Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), disowned her and issued an apology to Ishrat`s family for describing her as a LeT cadre.
The timing of the LeT’s apology coincided with a petition filed in Supreme Court by Gopinath Pillai, father of Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai who was killed along with Ishrat. He claimed that his son was innocent and demanded a CBI probe into the encounter.
Besides Ishrat and Javed, two Pakistani nationals -- Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar Abdul Ghani -- both alleged LeT terrorists were also killed in the encounter. According to the police version, they were intercepted on the outskirts of Ahmedabad when they were about to enter the city in a blue Indica on a mission to eliminate Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
In her petition to the Gujarat High Court, Ishrat`s mother Shamima Kausar had disputed the version of the Gujarat police as well as the Centre, claiming that her daughter was a saleswoman working for Javed Sheikh who dealt in perfumes.
Both Gujarat police and Centre objected to infirmities in their version. Centre told Gujarat HC that Javed had been recruited by LeT when he was in Dubai. The Centre also disputed the claim of Gopinath Pillai, supported by Ishrat`s mother, that he was in the business of perfumes and that this required him and Ishrat to travel across the country.
The Gujarat HC recently set Monday as the deadline for all parties concerned to submit their replies to the petitions from the parents of Ishrat and Javed, seeking a CBI probe into the alleged encounter.
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