The 2004 police encounter in which 19-year-old Mumbra college girl Ishrat Jahan and three others were gunned down in
Ishrat Jahan Sheikh and three others — Javed Ghulam Sheikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai, Amjad Ali alias Rajkumar Akbar Ali Rana and Jisan Johar Abdul Gani — were gunned down by the Detection of Crime Branch of Ahmedabad Police on the outskirts of the city, on June 15, 2004
Gujarat Police had claimed that the four were linked to terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and were planning to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi
The team was led by then Deputy Commissioner of Police Dhananjay Vanzara, currently in jail for involvement in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case
Ishrat had left her house on June 12, three days before she was killed
The case stirred up a controversy as politicians and the Maharashtra State Minorities Commission demanded an inquiry into the incident. The Maharashtra police could not find anything that could implicate Ishrat
A special investigative team (SIT) was also formed by the Gujarat High Court to investigate the case
In August this year, the high court ordered a three-member committee of top police officers to investigate the encounter following a petition filed by Ishrat’s mother Shamina. The committee was headed by state Additional Director General of Police Pramod Kumar.
WHO WAS ISHRAT?
Ishrat Jahan Shamim Raza was a 19-year-old student of Mumbai’s Guru Nanak Khalsa college
A second year science student, Ishrat was second of 7 siblings.
The family lived in Rashid compound in the Muslim-dominated area of Mumbra in Thane district. The lower middle class family is originally from Bihar
Ishrat, who lost her father two years before her death, gave tuitions and did embroidery work to support the family
On Monday, the panel appointed by the court to investigate the encounter submitted its report.
“We are happy that Ishrat’s innocence has been proved. This is the first step towards justice… We want to remove the stain that my daughter has been branded a terrorist,” said Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kausar whose petition seeking CBI investigation prompted the Gujarat High Court to appoint the panel this August.
On June 15, 2004, Ishrat and three others — Javed Ghulam Sheikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai, Amjad Ali alias Rajkumar Akbar Ali Rana and Jisan Johar Abdul Gani — were gunned down by the Gujarat police who claimed they were linked to Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and were planning to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Magistrate S P Tamang who conducted the probe said the four victims had no links to Lashkar.
The report said the encounter was “planned” and executed “mercilessly”. Senior police officer planned the encounter to impress Modi, get promotion and secure their positions.
‘I’ll keep fighting till we get justice’
Ishrat Jahan’s family feels vindicated. A judicial probe in Gujarat has confirmed what they had been maintaining all along. That she was killed in a fake encounter.
“We’re very happy that finally Ishrat’s innocence has been proved. This is the first step towards justice,” said younger sister Musarrat Jahan (22), a receptionist at a local hotel.
Ishrat and three others were gunned down by the Ahmedabad police on June 15, 2004. The police claimed the four were Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists out to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The team was led by Deputy Commissioner Dhananjay Vanzara who is in jail in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kausar (45) said: “ We want justice. We had to suffer a lot these five years. I’ll keep fighting till the time we get justice.”
Shamima said she first heard of Ishrat’s death when a TV channel announced that she had died in an encounter. “ I didn’t even know what an encounter was then.”
The last time Shamima saw her 19-year-old daughter, a second-year science student of Guru Nanak Khalsa College at King’s Circle, was when she left home on June 11, 2004, saying she was going to Nashik for a job. Ishrat called later in the day to say she had reached Nashik and that she would call later.
In the five years since her death, the family that lives in Rashid Compound in the Muslim-dominated area of Mumbra in Thane district, has struggled to survive.
Shamima says the allegation against Ishrat meant her siblings found it difficult to get jobs. The family’s eldest daughter Zeenat Jahan (25) does not work and is not married.
Brother Anwar Iqbal (21) teaches at a computer coaching centre in Mumbra. He said he couldn’t get jobs outside the locality. Twice he was turned out when his employers learnt his background . “I want all those responsible for her death to be punished.”
The three youngest children are still students. Nuzhat Jahan, 19, is a first year college student while 17-year-old Nusrat attends junior college. Amanullah (13) does not attend school but plans to sit for the exams privately.
On Monday evening, they were all at home facing the TV cameras and offering sweets to wellwishers.