Headley, home ministry termed Ishrat a 'terrorist'

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New Delhi: Was Ishrat Jahan a terrorist? Three sources say that she indeed had links with terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Source 1: David Coleman Headley

When officials of India's National Investigating Agency (NIA) interrogated David Coleman Headley in a Chicago jail three years ago, the latter had informed them that Ishrat Jahan, the college student who was killed by police in Gujarat in 2004, had links with terrorists. Headley was involved with the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai which killed 166 people.

The NIA said in its long report that Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, a LeT commander, the terror outfit which was behind the 26/11 attacks, had told Headley about a terror operation that had failed with the death of Jahan and her colleagues.

ishrat-jahan-encounter

According to a report published in NDTV, the NIA had shared its report with the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and it was also made available to the media. However, it was said that two paras mentioning Jahan were missing in the version which was given to the media. The NIA played it down as a hearsay.

The same report said that in February this year, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had Headley had told the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that Ishrat was a suicide bomber. He had also said that Ishrat and her team were planning to carry out terror attacks on Gujarat temples, including the Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar.

Ishrat a suicide bomber?

Intelligence reports said that Lashkar was looking to recruit female suicide bombers since the women had lesser chance of being scrutinised. It is thought that the LeT had taken the strategy from the LTTE in Sri Lanka. Former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by an LTTE female suicide bomber in 1991.

Source 2: A report published by a LeT-owned magazine which said Ishrat was a Lashkar martyr.

Source 3: In 2009, an affidavit submitted by the home ministry before the Gujarat High Court said that she had links with the Pakistan-based terror outfit. The affidavit also said that Ishrat and her colleagues were planning to carry out a major operation in Gujarat. It was also said that one of her partners, Javed, had converted to Islam but secured a passport in his Hindu name and went to Dubai to participate in LeT activities.

He reportedly met Ishrat in Thane in Maharahstra where he persuaded the latter to join the LeT. It was said that since Ishrat had no criminal background, the LeT man found it convenient to rope her in so that nobody would suspect her.

CBI chargesheet

The CBI has said in its chargesheet filed on Wednesday that Ishrat and three men with her were killed in a cold-blooded joint operation by the Gujarat police and Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau on the outskirts of Ahmedabad and also concluded that there was no evidence that the four had plans to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as was claimed by the Intelligence Bureau and cops. It did not say anything on whether the four had terror links.

Campaign to malign Modi?

The BJP said that the government was deliberately trying to shield details about Ishrat Jahan's terror links to taint the image of Modi and his administration.

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