The FBI interrogation of David Coleman Headley alias Daood Gilani has, for the first time, confirmed what India has always known that a section of serving Pakistan army officers is working in collaboration with India-specific jihadi groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
Really? If it was known then was it conveyed in those thousands of pages of dossier sent to Pakistan?
We will come to the ‘jihadi targets’ in a bit. Here is fresh news (italics mine). Do read it to see my response in perspective:
A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, confirmed the fact that a top policeman had spoken to a Pakistani handler during the first night of terror last year…the senior officer identified himself as a steward to the handler and said that an injured terrorist had given him the phone and asked for further instructions. The officer said that the terrorist was bleeding profusely and wanted him to speak to the handler. He spoke in Hindi but initially the person on the other end was not interested in giving any instructions, the source said. The handler insisted that the steward give the phone to the injured terrorist and asked for his location but the officer on the line said that since firing was going on, it was not possible to get him to the phone. At this, the handler directed the cop to pass on instructions to the terrorist to proceed towards the swimming pool and disconnected the call, the source said. The cops were taken aback by this instruction since it clearly showed that the attackers had detailed information about the inside of the hotel.
Why were the cops taken aback? Do they not familiarise themselves with sites that are in trouble? In the same manner, such groups will do some research. Today, one can find one’s way almost in any part of the world with exact driving instructions with Google maps. The inside of hotels or establishments might not be so easy, but it isn’t all that tough. As for the pool, you can just go to the loo of the new section of the Taj and walk along and take a right and there is the pool staring at you in the face. If you are in the old section, you don’t even have to do all this turning right stuff. Just go straight and beyond the lifts is the pool which is visible to the naked eye, even if you are myopic. You can go to shop for sarees and the pool is before that. What detailed information does anybody need?
What the cops should have been taken aback by is that one of the handlers, who are supposed to be smart chaps, agreed to even entertain the ‘steward’. Heck, back from all those years ago when one read espionage thrillers, these guys knew when to shut up. Let us not forget there weren’t too many of these fellows inside the hotel and terrorists, however smart they are, cannot assume that the security of any city would not hit them back with great force.
Why did the cop not fake his identity and pretend to be one of the boys? He could have muffled his voice and sounded injured. He might have been given more information.
How did the handler, without speaking to his man, ask that he be instructed to go towards the swimming pool? Did he assume the ‘steward’ might not pass on the information to a cop? Did the handler think that such instructions would indeed be passed on? It is too darned cocky to imagine that he could use the employee of the hotel, a hotel that has been attacked, to act as courier for the attacker.
We do not know if the cop-steward did go towards the pool and what transpired. It is, I am sure, something that needs to be kept under wraps to help investigations, now that the FBI has got Headley in its pockets. The poor fellow apparently was denied his hope of waging war against Kashmir because he was considered too old for military operations by LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
Look what happens. You get the US involved and they will bring in Kashmir. On second thought, we always bring in Kashmir because Pakistan has little interest in anything else Indian.
This brings us to the targets.
The names are clearly not those that might get Pakistan excited under normal circumstances. These are names that might rattle sensible Indians and Indian Muslims.
Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar, Mumbai, RSS headquarters at Nagpur, BARC, Trombay, Jalvayu Vihar in Powai (where defence services personnel live), residential colonies at Kalina, National Defence College, Delhi.
Even if Kashmir is the big thing, these targets seem off.
Headley also revealed to the FBI that most of the targets in India had already been mapped for a fresh wave of attacks and these included not only important establishments but also well-known leaders whose killings could spark communal violence.
And how would communal conflagrations help Pakistan? Has it been of any assistance in the past?
Is this being done to put Indian Muslims in trouble? Or is Headley, now the FBI’s toyboy, being trained to say these things so that the heat is off Pakistan and the masters of Pakistan?
Are these people daft to think that if the leaders mentioned were made targets and there were communal riots, it would be started by their supporters? This again assumes that the security apparatus would not get it and is unable to stem the riots despite being aware that they have been incited by outside forces?
I am afraid the whole scenario is a bit bizarre.
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Found this portion of a quote used as a headline rather amusing:
‘Passion as important as apparatus’ - former director-general of police, P S Pasricha