July 15, 2004
The story of Mumbra girl Ishrat Jahan, shot dead in a police encounter in Ahmedabad, took a turn today with the Lashkar-e-Taiba website claiming that she was the organisation’s martyr. Ishrat was married to one of the three others in the car, said the report in jamatuddawa.org.
Accusing Gujarat police of not showing due respect to her body, the report said, ‘‘the Lashkar activist’s veil was removed by Indian police and her body was kept on the ground with other mujahideen.’’
‘‘Ishrat was with her husband sitting on the front seat of the car,’’ said the report on the site run by Jamat-ul-Dawa, the new name of Markaz-ad-Dawa Wal Arshad, the Lashkar’s parent organisation, which was banned by the US in 2002.
Ishrat was among the two Indians — the other being Javed Sheikh from Pune— and two suspected Pakistani nationals who were gunned down with Gujarat police, claiming that they were planning to assassinate Chief minister Narendra Modi.
A student of Mumbai’s Khalsa College, Ishrat’s death had sparked a major controversy with many claiming that she was innocent. However, Gujarat and Mumbai police had said there were sufficient leads to suspect her involvement in militant activities.
Reacting to the website report, Additional Commissioner of Police (Gujarat) D G Vanjara, who led the encounter team, said: ‘‘It only substantiates what our investigations had revealed, not that we ever needed a confirmation from the terror outfit. We have always been confident about the authenticity of our information and the facts revealed in our investigations.’’
In Mumbai, Ishrat’s 17-year-old brother, Anwar Sheikh, said he was not aware such a website.
‘‘Anything can be posted on a website,’’ he said. ‘‘This could be the work of vested interests to malign my sister.’’
Sheikh’s view was echoed by Advocate Shakeb Khan, who has been representing Ishrat’s family since the encounter.
‘‘The information on it (website) seemed baseless,’’ he added.
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