Opposition terms David Headley's Ishrat Jahan call 'stage-managed'

In response, CM Fadnavis brands Opposition anti-national for politicising the issue and helping Pakistan by doubting Headley’s deposition

Ishrat Jahan, who was shot dead in an alleged fake encounter by the Gujarat Police in 2004, is back to hound the saffron forces. The Mumbra girl’s mention in the deposition by David Headley, prime accused-turned-approver in the 26/11 terror attacks case, armed politicians from the Opposition parties with barbs to attack the BJP.

NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad accused the BJP of fixing Headley’s depositionNCP MLA Jitendra Awhad accused the BJP of fixing Headley’s deposition

Various social media posts stated that it was a foregone conclusion as to what Headley would tell the Indian court. The anti-BJP brigade even claimed that the contents of Headley’s deposition were decided during PM Narendra Modi’s US visit.

Opposition up in arms
Leading the anti-BJP charge from the front was NCP’s MLA from Mumbra, Jitendra Awhad. Awhad has been supporting Ishrat’s family ever since she was killed and even took up her case on political and legal fronts.

For the BJP, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis mounted the counterattack
For the BJP, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis mounted the counterattack

“It’s all stage-managed to create a political controversy. Words were put in Headley’s mouth during the trial. He told the court that he did not know any suicide bomber, but said that some information had come to him via hearsay,” the MLA said. Awhad added that Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Ujjwal Nikam gave the approver options when it came to naming Ishrat.

Congress leader Sandeep Dixit demanded that the design behind Headley’s deposition needed to be probed deeply. “Many had already said that Headley would be naming Jahan as a terrorist. It is highly suspicious and needs further probe,” Dixit said from New Delhi.

CM to the rescue
Mounting the counterattack, CM Devendra Fadnavis branded the Opposition as anti-national for politicising the issue and helping Pakistan by doubting Headley’s deposition.

“People who doubt Headley’s statement in the court are anti-national because for the first time a credible witness has directly indicated Pakistan’s role in terror activities in India. These petty politicians are helping Pakistan by raising such unfounded doubts,” he told mid-day.

Also, voices from Gujarat welcomed Headley’s deposition. Gujarat government’s standing counsel, Hemantika Wahi, reportedly, said that Headley’s statement had proved his government’s consistent stand that Ishrat was a Lashkar operative.

Addressing a press conference in the city, Former IPS officer from Gujarat, D G Vanzara, who was DCP with city crime branch when the encounter took place, said the deposition has vindicated him. “What Headley said is something Gujarat police has been saying for years now. But with Headley saying this before the court, it is of greater importance,” said Vanzara, who was one of the main accused in Ishrat Jahan, Sohrabuddin and Tulsi Prajapathi fake encounters.

Lawyer strikes back
Reacting sarcastically to Headley’s deposition about her client, Ishrat Jahan’s lawyer Vrinda Grover said though he a had a fabulous memory, Headley did not name Ishrat until the SPP gave him options. “Was the (prosecutor) lawyer hosting Kaun Banega Crorepati? What is happening in the court?” Grover said.

She alleged that handling of this entire case has a certain political angle to it. “The lawyer puts words in Headley’s mouth, and now a political issue is being made of it,” she told reporters yesterday. Refuting allegations that he is leading Headley into expected answers, Nikam countered, “NIA had already made investigations in this regard. I am very clear in framing my questions. I don’t suggest or prompt (in the court).”

Victim’s father doubts Headley’s revelation
Gopinath Pillai, father of Gujarat encounter victim Pranesh Kumar, who was among the four killed along with Ishrat Jehan, yesterday expressed doubts over Headley’s deposition that Jehan was a Lashkar operative. “The incident occurred in 2004. Did Headley have to wait till 2016 to say this or did someone make him say so?” Pillai asked while speaking to reporters in Kerala.

Book every Ishrat supporter: Sena
Seizing on Headley’s claim that Ishrat was an LeT operative, Shiv Sena yesterday demanded that all those who had supported her be booked. “Headley has only repeated what he had first said in Chicago. At that time, some people made her (Ishrat) a ‘Jhansi ki Rani’ and considered her a martyr. At that time we had said that these people will fall flat on their faces and the same thing has happened,” Sena MP Sanjay Raut said.

Tweet talk
@ShelarAshish: Congress & NCP has been indulging in appeasement of terrorists. Headley has exposed wat we knew. Shame.#IshratJahan

@JhaSanjay: I just heard a BJP spokesperson literally gloating on #IshratJahan case. Does Modi Sarkar thus officially endorse fake encounters??

@minhazmerchant: With #DavidHeadley naming #IshratJahan as an LeT suicide bomber, wait for our subverted nouveau elite to invent a new narrative

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