By The Hindu
18 June, 2004
JUNE 17. "It is the first time I heard of the Lashkar-e-Taiba,"
said Shamima, mother of the 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan Shamim Raza, who
down, along with three others, by the Ahmedabad police for allegedly
plotting the murder of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
At her home in her
tiny apartment in Rashid compound in this crowded town in Thane district,
Shamima was told of the death of her daughter, a second-year science
student at Mumbai's Gurunanak Khalsa College, by reporters on Tuesday
evening. "We had no cable or newspaper, so I had no idea. One of
the reporters showed me my daughter's picture in the paper and it was
then that I realised that it was her," she said.
used to leave at eight in the morning and come home at four and then
take tuitions. She also helped me with running the house. She had no
time for herself and was my main support," said Shamima.
and well-wishers were standing around the three-storeyed apartment in
anger and silence. No one could believe that Ishrat was not among them
any more. All her neighbours and friends said that Ishrat was an innocent
girl. In college, Ishrat, a B.Sc. student, was popular.
"She left on
Saturday but I did not know where she had gone. Later, my children told
me she had taken some clothes with her. It was a good thing her ID-card
was with her, otherwise we would have never known," her mother
said amid sobs.
The Raza family
hails from Bihar but they left the State many years ago. Here, they
have no relatives. Ishrat's brother, Sheikh Anwar Iqbal, said: "The
police came very late at night to tell us but we do not know anything
about her links with any terrorist organisation."
The whole family
was taken for questioning at night to the police station and they came
home only early next morning. The eldest of the daughters, Zeenat, was
a school dropout and she and Ishrat took tuitions at home. Their father
died two years ago. The two girls also did some `zari' embroidery work
to supplement the family income.
The landlady, Anwari
Begum, said the family was very poor and could not even pay the monthly
rent. Ishrat was always a topper and was educated with a lot of difficulty
by her mother. If they were really linked to terrorists, would they
be living in such poverty, she wondered. Today, Shamima left for Gujarat
with the Samajwadi MP, Abu Asim Azmi, to collect her daughter's body.
A senior Thane police
official said that inquiries were at a preliminary stage. Ishrat, he
said, was a good student with a good character. It was too early to
say whether she had any links with terrorists.
PTI reports from
Government ordered an inquiry to ascertain whether Ishrat had any criminal
record as it found no evidence to link her with any militant outfit.
The Home Minister,
R.R. Patil said: "I have asked authorities to conduct an inquiry
whether she was involved in any criminal activities and had any crime
Mr. Patil, refusing
to divulge any details, said he has sought the report in three days.
"Only after I receive the report will I be able to say anything
in this regard."
The Deputy Commissioner
of Police, Suresh Suryavanshi, said: "We have not found any objectionable
material during the search" that could link her to a terrorist