Ishrat Jahan was a suicide bomber Headley told NIA
In a major twist in the Ishrat Jahan case, Mumbai attack terrorist David Coleman Headley has reportedly said that the 19-year-old Mumbra girl, who was gunned down in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat, was a suicide bomber and had terror links.
Headley had reportedly told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that a terror plan, plotted by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, had failed after the death of Ishrat Jahan and three other men who accompanied her.
Reacting to the development, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has demanded that the Union Home Ministry must clarify whether Headley had told NIA that Ishrat Jahan had terror links.
Digvijay on Friday morning posted a tweet saying: “Home Ministry must clarify whether Headley told the Team which went to US to interrogate him whether Ishrat Jehan had terror links.”
Asserting that the “unofficial selective leaks” regarding the case is creating confusion, the Congress leader said, “Unofficial selective leaks of I Jehan case are creating confusion in the public mind which is not in the interest of our Internal Security.”
The Headley revelation comes a day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday filed its first chargesheet in connection with the encounter case. The CBI has blamed the Intelligence Bureau and the Gujarat Police for killing Ishrat and three others in “cold blood”.
Though Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and state’s former home minister Amit Shah have not been named, the chargesheet has already triggered a fresh round of war of words between BJP and the Congress.
The Congress has launched a scathing attack on Modi, saying “truth speaks for itself from the rooftop” and claimed that the Gujarat Chief Minister’s role in such encounters will also be exposed in the days to come.
Congress general secretary Madhusudan Mistri said, “Everyone in Gujarat knows that this encounter was fake. During a period of three months, when there was talks about removing Modi as Chief Ministers, such encounters took place with frequent intervals propping up a theory that there was an attempt to murder Modi”.
Given the near certainty that BJP will anoint Modi as its prime ministerial candidate in 2014, the Congress may use the Ishrat case to attack his secular credentials. Also, the party hopes that the fake encounter case will throw a spanner in Modi’s attempt to build bridges with the Muslim community.
On the other hand, the BJP is working to insulate Modi from Congress’ attack. It has hit back at the Congress by accusing it of indulging in vote-bank politics in encounter cases and targeting ‘rising saffron leaders.’’
The BJP feels the CBI chargesheet in the Ishrat Jahan case “underplays” the role of militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba and terrorists and “indicts” security agencies, “demoralising” them in the process.
The opposition party also questioned CBI’s silence on the role of those accompanying Ishrat Jahan as they were believed to be involved in terrorist activities.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, “It’s surprising the CBI has not revealed anything about the background of the people who were killed in the encounter by the police on June 15, 2004.”
The BJP leader also alleged that the government might be pressurising the CBI to proceed in the case and establish ground to implicate Modi and his close aides.
The BJP also blamed the Congress government for misusing the central probe agency for political gains.