My sister, Ishrat
Sadiq Naqvi Delhi
Dubbed as a family of terrorists, Mussarrat Jahan, younger sister of Ishrat Jahan, unfolds her angst and anger on how they were denied not one inch of justice by the Gujarat and central government
How did your family come in contact with Javed Sheikh?
Javed Sheikh employed Ishrat in his business as a sales girl after Rashid, brother of a girl who took tuitions from Ishrat, approached the family with Javed's proposal for a job for Ishrat. The girl knew of the poor financial condition of our family.
Does your family know the other two people, Jisan Johar and Amjad Ali, who have been killed in the same encounter?
No, we came to know about them only after the encounter through media reports. Before that we never met them nor were they related to us in any way. Ishrat also never discussed about them.
So, the family allowed Ishrat to move out of the city with Javed?
Yes, Ishrat being the only bread winner of our family after the death of our father, we had no other option. As her work was related to marketing of cosmetic products, she did go with Javed earlier also on a few occasions. I have five more siblings so we were in desperate need of financial support and Ishrat's job was the only source of income for us.
How is life in Mumbra post-encounter?
Life has completely changed for us. Almost all the people in the locality knew us because of our good behaviour and academic record. Now, everybody sees us with suspicion and fear. Ishrat was the brightest among us with a good record in academics and co-curricular activities. Immediately after the encounter, all the people who sympathised with us were interrogated by the police, so they now exercise restraint. Moreover, we also prefer to remain in our residence. We can't go on forever answering questions posed to us.
What implications did the encounter have on your family?
Our life has been devastated. We are forced to live in constant trauma. The education of all the siblings has tremendously suffered. I was in standard 12 at the time of the encounter, and till now I have not been able to move forward. And if we don't study we won't be able to get good jobs. My brother, after much difficulty, got a job in a company - he was asked to leave as soon as the management came to know about his relation with Ishrat. My siblings are not even getting any marriage proposals.
What are your views on terrorism and encounter killings?
Terrorism is affecting everybody alike. But that doesn't mean innocent people should be murdered on mere suspicion. People found to be engaged in terrorist activities should be tried in the courts of law and must be awarded the harshest punishments. It was only after Ishrat's death that I heard this word 'encounter'. Before that I did not even know who Narendra Modi is or what is happening in politics.
Have you ever been targeted by the police?
Yes, the night after Ishrat's burial, some people knocked our door at 2:30am saying that they were from the press. They persuaded us a lot that we open the door and let them in. It was actually a kidnapping attempt by Gujarat Police as our neighbours told us that they had seen Gujarat Police personnel in the locality that night.
With so many encounter killings of Muslim youth, do you think the community is being hounded?
Yes, definitely. These encounters and the officers who do it are a danger to the society. They are in a way destroying the social fabric that binds different faiths.
Now that the magisterial enquiry has clearly shown that the encounter was fake, do you think the guilty police officers will ever be brought to book?
Yes, the enquiry has rekindled our hope in the judicial system. If the law takes it due course, the guilty officers will surely be held accountable for the cold blooded murder of my sister.