|A dead Ishrat lying on the road in Ahmedabad
Roll No: 294; Name: Raza Ishrat; (Bus) RT No: 2989; Class: FY BSc; GN Khalsa College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Matunga
Mumbai, June 16: That’s how the identity card of the 19-year-old girl shot dead by Gujarat police yesterday for “attempting to kill” chief minister Narendra Modi reads.
Nuzhat, her younger sister, holds it out: “See how she looks.” At the bottom left of the card, a fair, pretty face is beaming at the camera.
Apart from her posthumous title of a Lashkar-e-Toiba-trained fidayeen, Ishrat’s face seems to have been her only claim to fame till now in this dishevelled locality of Mumbra, an hour away from Mumbai.
“She used to go to her college regularly and we would gather at the bottom of the staircase leading to her house to snatch a glimpse of her,” said Salim, a neighbour at Ishrat’s Hashmat Park Society.
“She was so beautiful. I am still recovering from the shock of the news that she was killed in Gujarat and that she was a terrorist. I wonder where she got the time to train for it, to be a fidayeen.”
A day after she was gunned down, along with Javed — said to be a Pune-based youth — and two other alleged Pakistani nationals, Ishrat’s family was still unaware of her death. The Gujarat government hadn’t told them yet.
There is a TV but they cannot switch it on because there is no electricity in the house. They don’t buy newspapers as it costs money they can’t afford to lose.
“Why have you come here and why are you asking about Ishrat'” her mother Shamira asks.
“My daughter called on Saturday from Ahmedabad and told me she was with a friend she knew. She also told me she would be back in two days. We are waiting for her call. I have faith, she hasn’t done anything wrong.”
Nuzhat butts in from a dark corner of the house: “She took just two sets of clothes. She will come. It is just 11.30 am.”
The neighbours are just as stunned. Sharif said he waved at Ishrat when she left for the station in his brother’s auto-rickshaw. “Till now there was no hanky-panky about her. It is a small locality and news spreads. And then we saw her so often.”
Sharif’s and others’ belief is that she might have been tricked by someone into accompanying one of the three men to Ahmedabad. Sharif said: “I asked her when she would be back and she said ‘in two days’… She had never left home before this.”
The neighbours said Ishrat, the second of the sisters, would return home from college to tutor little children in two batches. Their father died three years ago, leaving behind a family of seven.
Nuzhat, only 13, can’t stop giggling at the stream of visitors. “My sister is a good teacher. She charges Rs 100 per student and she has around 15 of them.”
Sensing something amiss, Nasrat, the third daughter, dashes out of the darkness and rushes into the bright light of the building’s corridor.
Five minutes later, she returns with an Urdu newspaper with the bloody face of her sister staring at her from the front page. At 3.30 pm, the family realises Ishrat is dead.