Ishrat Jahan was a Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative: David Headley blows the lid

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Bengaluru, Feb 11: The issue relating to Ishrat Jahan had become a major issue with several persons terming it as a fake encounter by the Gujarat police. While there were questions being asked about the encounter, it was also said that Ishrat Jahan was not a terrorist and the Gujarat administration was accused of stage managing an encounter.

Today revelations by David Headley puts a major issue to rest. In the court of law while deposing today he said the following- Ishrat Jahan was a Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative. [Live: David Headley deposition (Day 4)]

David Headley & Ishrat Jahan

The operation was about a shoot out at police at some check naka- One woman of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba Ishrat Jahan was involved- There was a women's wing in the Lashkar-e-Tayiba- On Ishrat Headley first said that no suicide bomber of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba was involved. But he went on to state later that Ishrat was involved in an operation involving a shoot out on police at a naka.

Ishrat Jahan was killed along with Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai and two Pakistani nationals Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar Abdul Ghani on June 15, 2004.

Why did the NIA not probe this angle?

The Ishrat Jahan encounter had become a major issue with allegations flying around against those who had carried it out. Headley who was first questioned by the FBI had spoken about her. When a team of the NIA questioned Headley he had spoken about it again.

When he spoke with the FBI and the NIA he had said Ishrat Jahan, a Mumbai girl killed in a police encounter in Ahmedabad, was a suicide bomber of the outfit.

This information was shared by Headley with a four member team of the NIA. While this was made clear by Headley, the angle was never probed and the official reason that was given to us was that he was basing his statements on hearsay.

At that time the Home Ministry had said that this never figured in the probe. Our probe was restricted to 26/11 and this statement by Headley was based on hearsay, the government had said.

The Intelligence Bureau which was being blamed by the then government of providing false information on Ishrat said that there is no doubt that Headley was well aware of who Ishrat Jahan was.

When everyone sought answers, it is quite surprising that the NIA did not chose to push the questioning on this angle further despite Headley knowing a lot about her and the case.

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