As the debate rages on whether Ishrat Jahan and her accomplices were operatives of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba or not, there is increasing proof to show that she indeed had links with the outfit. Although the extent of her links are still unknown, in the investigating or intelligence circles she was considered to be a suicide bomber.
The alert by the Intelligence Bureau which is under question relies on the three mentioned proofs to suggest that she had links with the Lashkar. While the David Headley testimony is one, there is also a report published by a magazine owned by the Lashkar which claimed that Ishrat was a Lashkar martyr. However the most crucial document is the affidavit submitted by the Home Ministry before the Gujarat High Court four years back in which it said that she had links with the Lashkar.
The affidavit which was filed in the year 2009 states that Ishrat and her accomplice Javed were operatives of the Lashkar. Ishrat was actively involved with the Lashkar. The affidavit further states that Javed was in touch with the Lashkar cadres and they were planning a major operation in Gujarat. He converted to Islam but secured a passport in his Hindu name and travelled to Dubai and it is believed that he was aiding Lashkar activities over there, the affidavit further pointed out. He met with Ishrat in Mumbra and here it is believed that he coaxed her into joining the outfit.
Investigators point out that Ishrat had no criminal background and even the Maharashtra police had said so. Javed had picked and chosen a person with a clean slate and brain washed her so that there would be no heat, Investigators also point out.
While this is one part of the Intelligence Bureau’s argument, the other is regarding the David Headley testimony before the FBI and NIA. The testimony of Headley coincides with an alert that was put up by the Intelligence in the year 2001. It was stated at that time the Lashkar was looking to recruit female suicide bombers. This was once again reiterated by the Intelligence in the year 2003 and later in 2009. The Lashkar according to inputs by both the Indian and US agencies was looking to start a women’s wing and were recruiting female fidayeens. It was thought that women are lesser under scrutiny and moreover they had picked up the strategy from the LTTE which was also known to recruit women bombers.
The Intelligence says that Ishrat could have been part of this same programme and for an operation of a very large magnitude such as Gujarat they wanted a women taking part so that the radar would be low on her.