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An intriguing apology from LeT

Aasha Khosa  |  New Delhi 

Global terror group (LeT) has apologised to the Indian Muslims for causing them "problems" due to an "inadvertent mistake."
The "mistake" here refers to a claim posted on the website of the Pakistan-based Markaz-Ad-Dawa-Wul-Irshad (www.jamatdawah.org), the parent organisation of Lashkar, on May 2 and published in a Lashkar mouthpiece three years ago.
According to the claim, a 19-year Mumbai girl, Ishrat Jehan Reza, was a Lashkar operative. Ishrat was gunned down along with three other suspected terrorists by the Gujarat police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on July 15, 2004.
The apology, posted on the same website, says: "We apologise to the Indian Muslims for causing them problems due to an inadvertent mistake."
Nation-wide disapproval of the police theory about Ishrat fizzled out when the police cited the LeT claim to prove the girl-next-door was indeed a dreaded terrorist.
Now Abdullah Muntazir, Markaz spokesperson, claims, "It was a journalistic mistake that happened in my absence...now it is proved that Ishrat was just an innocent Muslim girl ... After making enquiries, I was shocked to find how a little journalistic mistake can cause havoc for not only a single family, but for the whole community of Indian Muslims."
The apology by one of the most dreaded terrorist outfits in South Asia has surprised terrorism experts. Ajit Doval, former Intelligence Bureau chief, says this was a "deviation from their taunting tone in which the Islamic group would refer to the Muslims in India for not supporting them."
Doval, however, adds that such a move must have been prompted by increasing pressures from influential lobbies of Muslims in India. Several Muslim intellectuals and leaders have been meeting those Pakistani leaders who have been coming to India on Track-II missions and pressing this issue.
A S Dullat, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), however, said the Laskhar apology appeared to be linked to the recent acts of terror in India by Lashkar, in which Muslims were the main victims.
He referred to the Samjhauta Express blast and the recent blast in a Hyderabad mosque. "Maybe the Lashkar is issuing an apology to Muslims in this context under the cover of a three-year-old incident," he said.

First Published: Fri, June 08 2007. 00:00 IST
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