Mumbai attacks conspirator David Coleman Headley’s claim that Ishrat Jahan, killed in an encounter in 2004, was a Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist renewed the political slugfest on the issue between the BJP and the Congress on Thursday.
The BJP demanded an apology from the Congress for targeting its government in Gujarat for many years over Jahan’s killing in an encounter with security forces. Latching on to Headley’s statement, the ruling party took potshots at Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for allegedly having described Jahan as Bihar’s daughter.
“Appeasement of terror outfits and terrorists had been given the name of secularism by some political forces. A thorough inquiry should be done on what he (Headley) has said,” Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari told HT.
Jahan and three others, Javed Shaikh, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar, were killed in a June 15, 2004 operation in Gujarat led by deputy inspector general of the state police DG Vanzara who was later jailed in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter case.
The BJP accused Congress of politicising the encounter as part of its “hate politics” against Modi, then Gujarat chief minister.
BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said police personnel who fought terrorists risking their lives were put behind bars by the then UPA government and security agencies such as the CBI and the IB were politicised. He alleged it was done to “defame and fix” Modi as part of a “political” conspiracy.
“Headley’s deposition that she was LeT’s suicide bomber has unmasked those who do politics over terrorism. We do not expect any morality from Congress,” Sharma said.
The Congress refused to go on the back foot. Party leader Sandeep Dikshit alleged that Lashkar accomplice Headley had named Jahan as a terrorist as part of “a deal”.
“Four or five days before the statement, I heard from a number of people that this is one of the deals that has been done and Headley will take Ishrat Jahan’s name as a terrorist. How is it that many people who don’t even know who David Headley is knew that he would be making this deposition?” Dikshit said.
The Congress argued that Jahan’s murder was a “very clear case of human rights violation” and the Gujarat government or police had not been able to provide any evidence to prove her links with any anti-national activity.