Ishrat Jahan case: Grim determination

“I am not fighting for my daughter now,” said Shamima Kausar, Ishrat Jehan’s mother. “She is gone. I am fighting for every mother. I am fighting so that no mother will have tears in her eyes again. Only those who have experienced it will understand.”
When THE WEEK met her, Shamima was waiting outside a TV studio as her daughter Mussarat Jehan, 17, and relative and activist Rauf Lala were “on air”. She had only good memories of Ishrat. “I can’t explain to you what a good child my daughter was,” she said. “She used to help me in everything. After her father’s death, she was a great support for me. She was a good student, a responsible daughter. Whenever she used to do housework, I would ask her to study. But she would tell me that she had enough time for studies and would go on helping me.”
Ishrat used to take tuition for young students and dreamt of starting a coaching class on a larger scale in two years. “Our lives have been destroyed,” said Shamima. “My children can’t go to college. Their marriage proposals get rejected. We have no peace. My son, Anwar Iqbal, 24, works in a call centre and we live off the money he makes.”
And, what about Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi? “It is now clear to everyone that he is part of the conspiracy that killed my daughter,” she said. “Big names are being swept under the carpet. But I have placed my trust on the country’s judiciary. I believe that everyone involved in my daughter’s murder will be given the harshest of punishments.”

Image via Google Images
Image via Google Images

Shameema’s younger daughter Mussarat, too, is battling for justice. “Every dream of ours was broken with my sister’s murder. I want everyone responsible for her death—be it a big politician or whoever it may be—to be hanged,” she said as tears flowed down her cheek. “So that no mother, no sister or no brother goes through what we were put through in these nine years.”
Mussarat said she was fighting on behalf of the common man. “Do not look at it as a religious battle because people like [NCP legislator] Jitendra Ahwad and [lawyer] Vrinda Grover, who have helped us are all Hindus.”
Asked whether Modi was the “big politician” she had referred to, Mussarat said, “My sister was killed because she was suspected to have been plotting to kill Modi. So I suspect his involvement in the fake encounter.”
Lala, who has been helping the family throughout their struggle, also wants Modi to be punished. “This is not the first encounter that has taken place in Gujarat,” he told THE WEEK. “This is just part of Modi’s theme. He set off riots in the state and attacked Muslims. After that there was a spate of encounters to kill people who were supposedly targeting him. That was his game to gain sympathy of the Hindu vote bank. But I believe that if [IB special director] Rajendra Kumar is named as an accused, the next will be Modi.”

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