Mumbai: 26/11 Mumbai attack accused, terrorist David Coleman Headley has exposed the dirty vote bank politics played by political parties harping on the secularism tune.
In a bid to corner the then Narendra Modi led Gujarat government, opposition parties like Congress had termed Ishrat Jehan, a LeT operative as an innocent girl and blamed Modi for killing her in cold blood.
In a statement made in the Mumbai court David Headley said that he was not pressurized neither taught to say that ishrat Jehan was a LeT operative.
The government has accused the Congress of blatantly misleading courts and the public about Ishrat Jehan when it was in power by trying to suppress the fact that she was a member of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is based in Pakistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, the BJP, says that by attempting to conceal this crucial information, the previous Congress-led government wanted to embarrass Mr Modi, who was Chief Minister of Gujarat at the time, by suggesting that his administration colluded with the police to eliminate Ishrat because she was a Muslim.
Ishrat Jehan was 19 when she was killed on a highway near Ahmedabad along with three men in 2004. The top officers of the Gujarat police said that they had been informed by the Intelligence Bureau that the group was planning to assassinate Mr Modi. The Intelligence Bureau says that it did share this information, but at no point sanctioned or participated in the shooting.
Headley, 55, is testifying in a terror case via video-conference from an undisclosed location in the US, where he has been given 35 years in jail for his role in the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008 in which 166 people were killed. Last month, he told the Mumbai court what he had earlier told officers of the National Investigation Agency or NIA when they traveled to the US to meet him – that the Lashkar has a women’s wing, that he believes Ishrat Jehan was among its members, and that during his time as a Lashkar operative, he had heard of a “botched up operation.”
The disclosure ignited a re-examination of why the Congress, when it was in power, first filed a court document that said Ishrat Jehan was linked to the Lashkar, only to revise it months later with no reference to that allegation.
Human rights activists and the opposition say that whether or not Ishrat Jehan was a terrorist, it’s how she was killed in cold blood that must be accounted for.