BJP on front foot after Headley’s Ishrat claim

via Rathin Das | Ahmedabad - Daily Pioneer published on July 5, 2010

US-based Pakistani terrorist David Headley’s reported claim that Mumbra girl Ishrat Jahan, killed in an encounter near here in June 2004, was a Lashker-e-Tayyeeba (LeT) suicide bomber, has come as a morale booster for the State BJP.

The news comes at a time when the final hearing on petitions demanding a CBI probe into the allegedly fake encounter is scheduled to come up next week in the Gujarat High Court.

Sources quoting the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which had recently quizzed Headley in US, have said that Ishrat was recruited by LeT commander Muzzammil for operations in India.

Ever since, Ishrat, her friend Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai and two Pakistan-based accomplices — Amzad Ali and Jishan Johar — were gunned down on the outskirts of the city on June 15, 2004, the Gujarat Police has been accused of staging a fake encounter with the motive of getting into Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s good books.

Gujarat Police’s claim that the four were heading towards Gandhinagar and were intercepted on the basis of Central intelligence input was ignored. Two separate petitions, filed by Javed’s father Gopinath Pillai and Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kausar, demanding a CBI inquiry into the encounter, are pending in the High Court for final hearing next week.

Emboldened by Headley’s revelation about Ishrat’s LeT link, Gujarat BJP president RC Faldu told The Pioneer, “We said the same thing all along. Headley said this now, but we said this (Ishrat’s LeT link) much earlier.” But human rights activists claiming that the June 2004 encounter was fake said the revelation is ‘bogus’. Jan Sangharsh Manch’s Mukul Sinha told The Pioneer that the Headley assertion was ‘untrustworthy’.

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