Was American national, terror suspect and Lashkar-Tayiba operative David Coleman Headley a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent? This is something that both Indian investigators and also the Intelligence Bureau are trying to ascertain. The IB says the United States knew of Headley much before his tryst with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
There are various instances to show that the US was aware of Headley and his plans for India, well in advance. Sources say that the first alert regarding the 26/11 Mumbai attack was issued by the US in the first week of September 2008 itself. The information was passed on to India on the basis of the information that they had gathered from David Headley.
Intelligence Bureau officials told rediff.com that Headley was on the US radar since 2003, and since then they had tracked his movements. The initial information that had been picked up by the US suggested that Mumbai would be attacked in the month of September 2008.
The association between the US agencies and Headley goes back to 1998 when he was picked up for smuggling narcotics. A US court sentenced him, but his sentence was reduced after he struck a deal to become an approver. He was then sent to the Af-Pak region to work undercover in 2001, where he decided to cozy up to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. He attended a training camp in Pakistan between 2001 and 2003 before embarking upon his mission.
Sources both in the Union home ministry and the Intelligence Bureau say that all through this, the US had information on Headley. They had known about Headley when the entire Mumbai attack was being planned. However, after September 2008, the US agencies lost track of Headley and were unaware of the Mumbai attack being postponed.
What is interesting is that the FBI made Headley’s arrest public much after it actually happened. IB sources say the FBI had Headley in their custody for at least six to seven months before they made it public. The FBI chose to not inform India of the same since they were worried that the Headley-FBI link would come out in the open.
Investigating officers who are probing the Headley case in India say they are also trying to verify whether the US Central Intelligence Agency was in the know of Headley’s movements in India. The information handed out by IB goes on to state that while the US knew about Headley’s links with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba almost a year before the Mumbai attack, they started to track him seriously only in October 2008, after he had gone off the radar in September that year. They were even aware that Headley had made several trips to India, but preferred to stay mum about the same.
Home ministry officials say his movements in the country were never picked up by the Indian intelligence agencies and neither were they told by the US about this man. The IB says the FBI was using Headley for information on terror groups in Pakistan and also regarding the drug mafia that was operating out of Pakistan.
Indian agencies say that after being sent to the AF-Pak region, he came in contact with several Lashkar operatives. In fact he had bonded very well with Lashkar’s Sajid Mir. After his initial meeting with the Lashkar bosses, he had attended several terror camps between February 2002 and 2003.
This is however denied by US intelligence agencies, who say they were not on the Lashkar trail at that point in time since the outfit had not been declared a foreign terrorist organisation by the US State Department.
Home ministry officials say this expose would make the extradition process a bit difficult. It appears that the US would not want this angle to the Headley story to come out in the open, and hence they may try and ensure that Headley is not brought to India.
During the meeting of the FBI officials with their Indian counterparts, the latter were told that Headley did not want to be interrogated in India. However, the latter insisted that they would go ahead and file a chargesheet and continue to seek his extradition so that he could be questioned by Indian agencies.
Indian investigators probing the links of arrested American national and Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative David Coleman Headley into the Mumbai 26/11 attacks have not stumbled upon any information regarding his local contacts while he was in India.
While they have confirmation that he was very much in India and carried out reccees of various targets which were attacked on November 26 2008, they say that he worked by himself and was in touch with several Indians — only to use them as a cover.
Sources told rediff.com that this was a deliberate ploy on part of the LeT to ensure that no one got a wind of Headley’s operations in India. It was important for them to ensure that no one knew of the fact that an American national was working in India to lay the ground for a terror attack.
While he was in touch with several high profile personalities, investigations have revealed that he had not taken the help of any one of these persons to carry out his activities.
Headley was secretive to the extent that he did not even get in touch with any of the local terror modules or cells and seek their help, a top official told rediff.com.
All his phone call records would indicate that he stayed in touch with his handlers in Pakistan, and there is no conversation to indicate that he had discussed any of his terror plans with Indians while in India.
His conversations — that have been intercepted — show that he stayed largely in touch with his primary handler Sajid Mir and also a retired Pakistan major by the name Abdul Hashim Syed.
While he stayed in touch with Mir regarding the Mumbai attack, he dealt largely with Syed regarding his operations in Europe and the establishment of a global jihad.
Investigators say that he did get in touch with outfits such as the Indian Mujahideen, but never discussed the Mumbai attack. None of the operatives even had a clue as to Headley’s plans for the attack on Mumbai.
Investigators who have done thorough checks with his contacts in Tardeo in Mumbai, where he set an immigration office, say that none of them had even the slightest of inclination as to what he was up to.
Intelligence Bureau sleuths say that the information that has been handed over to them by the Federal Bureau of Investigation does not point to any of Headley’s local contacts in India. There is absolutely no indication that he had shared information with any local link in India.
One of Bangalore’s notorious traffic jams saved many lives on the fateful night of December 29, 2005. This, and many more startling facts, was revealed by Sabhahuddin, the man allegedly responsible for the Indian Institute of Science attack, during a narco analysis test in Bangalore last week.
Sabhahuddin confessed that the terror attack was botched when his associate Abu Hamza, who was carrying the arms cache, was held up by a traffic jam.
During the five-hour narco analysis test, Sabhahuddin revealed that the task had been assigned to them by Muzammil, Laskhar-e-Tayiba’s India-in-charge, who instructed them to target as many Indian professionals as possible.
“Hamza and I met a few days before the attack and we surveyed the IISC campus. A seminar was scheduled to be held at the IISC and some professionals were meeting at the Le Meredian hotel, prior to the seminar. However, we decided against carrying out an attack at the hotel as the idea didn’t seem feasible,” Sabhahuddin told the police officials.
Hamza’s plan was to barge into the Tata Auditorium during the seminar, open fire on the crowd and also lob a grenade. We decided that we should kill at least 100 people in the auditorium. On D-day, I waited near the IISC. Hamza was supposed to reach the institute along with the weapons.
However, he got stuck in a traffic jam and by the time he reached the spot, the seminar was almost over and people had started leaving. A confused Hamza opened fire indiscriminately. He even lobbed the grenade, but it did not explode,” Sabhahuddin said during the test, which was conducted after the truth serum was injected into him.
Soon after the attack, Sabhahuddin rushed to the bus stand and boarded a bus to Chennai. From Chennai, he traveled to West Bengal and crossed over to Bangladesh. He eventually sought refuge in Pakistan.
His associate Hamza escaped to Hyderabad, and traveled on to Bangladesh from there. Hamza is presently hiding in Pakistan, according to Sabhahuddin.
“The two of us then met at the LeT camp in Pakistan. We were scheduled to meet Muzammil, who was seething with rage. He told us that we had wasted many hours of planning and man power. He warned us against repeating such a mistake in the future. We were then sent for training and I ended up in a training camp in Nepal. A few months later, I trained a youth camp in Nepal,” he said.
Sabhahuddin soon rose to the rank of a commander in LeT. He was sent to Lucknow to prepare an unit, to plan and execute terror attacks, within the country. “I influenced a couple of youths to join the camp and trained them for several months,” he admitted.
The CRPF attack in UP
“I was then told to gear up for an attack on the Central Reserve Police Force camp in Rampur. We also planned to carry out an attack on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh headquarters in Nagpur, after the CRPF attack. Once the plan was finalised, a consignment comprising Ak-47 rifles and grenades, came from Pakistan via Kashmir.
Sabhahuddin revealed many shocking facts during the narco analysis test. He told the police officials that he transported many of the rifles into Uttar Pradesh [ Images ] by train, and the railway security personnel didn’t bother to check him even once.
He termed the CRPF attack a ‘near success’.
Sabhahuddin, a student from Aligarh, was persuaded to join the LeT by two students from the Aligarh Muslim University. “They told me to join the organisation as the community needed me and atrocities were being meted out against my community. I was inducted into the LeT at Muzaffarbad in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in 2000. After several months of training, I was sent to Bangalore. I was asked to study the city, identify a likely target for a terror attack and report back to my boss.
My boss gave me Rs 1 lakh for my expenses and instructed me to remain undercover. I decided that I will pretend to be a student. I got myself admitted to the business management course in the Brindavan College. In Bangalore, I kept a track of important seminars and business meetings. That is how I got to know about the important seminar scheduled to be held at the IISC. I got the names of the invitees and e-mailed it to my boss. I told him about the plan to attack IISC and it was approved,” Sabhahuddin revealed during the narco analysis test.
Incidentally, Sabhahuddin, who is lodged at the Lucknow jail at present, plans to complete his course at Brindavan College.
Suspected Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative T Naseer, who is in the custody of the Bangalore police, has made a stunning disclosure that fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim is the primary financer for the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and also the Indian Mujahideen. Naseer says every terror strike carried out in India is funded by the D-gang (as the Dawood gang is known).
Naseer, who was initially proving to be a tough nut to crack, has slowly started opening up and among the many sensational disclosures he said that the Lashkar depends very heavily on Dawood for funds to carry out terror strikes.
Intelligence Bureau officials and interrogators told rediff.com that this could also mean that Dawood could also have raised funds for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Naseer told interrogators that the Pakistan-based Dawood has several of his men across India and in the Gulf involved in drug smuggling and printing and distributing fake currency. IB sources believe that Dawood has an understanding with Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence by which he is permitted to carry out his drug/fake currency trade provided he finances terror activities.
Naseer told interrogators that C A M Basheer is a key man in the Dawood gang. Naseer said he was introduced to the LeT by Basheer. He says Basheer had told him that it was the D-gang which funds the LeT. He said that initially the funds were being used to run the Students Islamic Movement of India. However after the organisation was banned in India, they had find new ways of keeping the money coming in. Hence they decided to start a parallel organisation which they called the Indian Mujahideen. Naseer says that Basheer fled to the Gulf once Indian security agencies turned the heat on him. He continues to operate from there and channelises D-gang money to fund terror operations in India.
Naseer’s role in the Coimbatore blasts in 1998 — which targeted Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani — is also getting clearer after he admitted that he was a member of the Al-Umma in Tamil Nadu. The banned outfit was blamed for the Coimbatore blasts. The Tamil Nadu police are in Bangalore to interrogate Naseer to get more details of his role in the blasts.
T Naseer, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative who was recently arrested on the Bangladesh border, is proving out to be a tough nut to crack. Senior police officials from Karnataka, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu — who are currently in Bengaluru to interrogate him — have not managed to get any concrete information out of him as yet.
One of the investigators told rediff.com that Naseer has made two things clear — one is that he had acted at the behest of Indian Mujahideen founder Riyaz Bhatkal to carry out the Bengaluru serial blasts last July, and secondly, his dream to go to Pakistan was never fulfilled.
Naseer, who has been in police custody for the past four days now, has given contradictory versions during his interrogation. The officer says that he has been trained extensively to dodge investigation and interrogation, and hence, he is always trying to confuse the police.
On day one, he had let out information that Bhatkal had asked him to help carry out the Bengaluru blasts and he had obliged; apart from raising funds for the attack.
On Tuesday he told his interrogators that he was so committed to the cause of jihad that it was his dream to go to Pakistan and meet with the top leadership of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, for which he was working.
Very vaguely, while speaking about the task handed out to him, he said, “I undertook what was asked of me. It was a dream to go to Pakistan and meet with the top Lashkar leadership. I was told to go to Bangladesh and meet with my handler over there.”
Not naming his handler, Naseer continued, “Once in Bangladesh, my handler assured me that he would ensure my safe passage into Pakistan. However he convinced me that it was very difficult to enter Pakistan since there was a lot of international pressure and hence, the screening process was tight. However, I was adamant and wanted to go there. I waited for my handler to return with the documents, but he disappeared. I was supposed to get out of Bangladesh on that day, but my handler never returned and this led to my arrest.”
Intelligence Bureau sources say that Naser is a very high ranking operative and has loads of information on how exactly Indian Mujahideen’s south Indian modules work. He was a trusted aide of the Lashkar since he was able to recruit operatives with ease.
Interrogators will have to pull out several tricks in order to get information out of this man. He has been giving a different version to the story every day, and his primary aim is to confuse the police team. Police from six states have been interrogating him continuously, and are trying to join the dots.
What each state is looking for:
Karnataka: His involvement in the Bengaluru serial blasts. His accomplices and also how many more modules he had set up in the state and information on how to bust these modules.
Kerala: His recruitment centres and also the number of modules he has set up. His statements on the role played by him in the assassination bid on former chief minister E K Nayanar [ Images ]. They would also try and find out from him whether he had met with Tawwahur Rana, another LeT operative, a Canadian national of Pakistani origin, currently held in the United States.
Delhi: The role played by him in the Delhi serial blasts. There is some information regarding the role played by in the serial blasts in Delhi, emerging through the interrogation of the other accused. They would like to ascertain whether Naseer had financed or had any other involvement in the blasts.
Tamil Nadu: The cops from this state would be looking for information on any role played by him in the Coimbatore blasts.
Jammu and Kashmir: Naseer had recruited several jihadis to operate for the Lashkar in J&K. He had managed to recruit over a dozen people and send them to J&K. The cops of this state are trying to find out if there are any more such cadres who are on their way. However, more importantly, they are trying to find out the route that he had used to sneak in the cadres, and also the route some of them used to sneak out of J&K and enter Pakistan. They believe that Naseer being a high-ranking cadre has details of the routes.
While original inhabitants of Telangana region remain unaffected by the developments, it is the ‘settlers’ (as they are called in Hyderabad) from Rayalseema and Andhra, who are worried.
The future is bleak, believes realtor Sadashiva Reddy, and goes on to explain, “I hail from the Rayalseema belt and have been working in this city since the past two decades. We have always shared a cordial relationship with the people of Telangana region. However, during the recent agitation, we could feel the discontentment among the people of Telangana and they felt that we had deprived them of their right. I will not be surprised if we are asked to leave once Hyderabad is made the capital of Telangana.”
Marataza Khan, a taxi driver who originally hails from the old city of Hyderabad, says that people from outside Telangana need not worry. “We have accepted the people of Rayalseema and Andhra and we don’t have any intentions of creating problems for them”.
But he adds, “Some people from other belts, who have deprived us of our rights and blocked the development of Telangana, will face problems. There are several instances when people from the Rayalseema belt have grabbed land belonging to the people of this region. These people will face problems”.
Venaktesh, who runs a small tea stall near the Charminar, hails from Warrangal and fears that he may be forced to go back to his town. “I keep hearing that people from the non-Telangana belt will be asked to move out. I have been living in Hyderabad since the last seven years and it will be unfortunate if I have to leave make a start all over again”.
But the issue of Hyderabad becoming a part of Telangana has worried real estate developers the most.
“Hyderabad has grown considerably in the past couple of years. Thanks to the IT boom, the prices of real estate have shot up. Since today orning, I have been flooded with calls regarding the fate of investments in the city. I think it would be in the best interest of the investors if Hyderabad is made a Union Territory and the capital of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh,” says realtor Suman Reddy.
Reddy points out that the issue is not merely a sentimental one; the financial aspect of such a decision also had to be considered.
“I don’t see any sort of assurance being given by any of the Telangana leaders to the investors about their safety. This will definitely scare them away,” predicts Reddy.
Shabir, an auto drive, wants Hyderabad to remain a part of Andhra Pradesh. “Why should they take it away now? People from across the state have contributed towards making Hyderabad what it is today. The livelihoods of so many, including people from non-Telangana regions, are dependant on this state and they should not be deprived of that,” he says.
Dismissing the assurances by Telangana supporters, he says, “It will be another state for us. I think that the idea of having a common capital would be the best thing and it would be in the interest of people from all three regions”.
Nalini, who works at a medical store, has a completely different take on the entire issue. She believes that in spite of the Centre’s promise, a new Telangana state will never be formed and the issue will die down soon.
“If Hyderabad is taken away from Andhra, I will move out. I will prefer to live in my own state, where I have equal rights and am not looked upon as an outsider,” she explains.
The Muslim community in the old city, which has been openly supporting the demand for a separate Telangana, stress that Hyderabad should be made the capital of the new state.
“We are ready to continue with our protests until our dream is achieved. But there is no reason for the businessmen to worry; we have no intentions of chasing them out of the state. There is no need for anyone to leave Hyderabad at least,” says Lateed Mohammad Khan, who has been leading the minority community over this issue.
Khan claims that the government had dithered so long over granting permission for a separate state due to immense pressure from the land mafia. “Some elements of the land mafia have even demanded Rs 2 lakh crore compensation from the government, fearing that they will have to move out of Hyderabad now,” he says.
The five-decade-long agitation for a separate Telangana state may be bearing fruit with the announcement on Wednesday night by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram [ Images ] that the process for forming the new state would begin.
Dr K Jayashankar, former vice-chancellor of Kakatiya University, Warangal, has been in the thick of the agitation for several years now. He has written several articles and books on why Telangana is important. Fondly known as the father (pita maha) of the movement, Dr Jayashankar says that the government has made a commitment and he hoped they would stick to it.
In this interview with rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, Dr Jayashankar explains why it is important that Hyderabad becomes the capital of the new state and why the demand to make it a Union Territory should be dropped immediately.
What are your first reactions to the decision of the Union government?
Obviously I am happy. It is a long-standing dream and it seems to be coming true today. I would not call it the end of the matter, but it is the beginning. The process has commenced and there is still some time to go before it becomes a complete reality.
At any point do you feel that the Union government may backtrack on its decision? Do you think this was a tactic to ease the tension prevailing in the state?
It is clear that they have made a commitment. The process is underway and we trust it. This has been a long struggle and we hope that the government will not backtrack. When the home minister of the country makes an announcement, we trust it.
What if the government goes back on its decision? The ball is now in the court of the AP government which does not seem too enthusiastic about the formation of Telangana.
As I said earlier, we trust the decision of the Union government. If at any point of time, they backtrack we will not take it lying down. We have plans to ensure that the government does not backtrack.
There have been violent protests in the past. What makes this one unique and why do you think the government gave in this time?
Yes, there has been a long history to this movement. Moreover if you notice this time around the movement was more people based. The political parties had a very small role to play. There were students and the common man who had come out in the streets and made the demand. I would call this the final struggle and the unique thing was that everyone was in the movement this time. This made the difference. It was in this backdrop that the government decided to take action and give in to our demands.
You have written an extensive paper on this issue. What according to you are the main grievances of the people of Telangana?
Irrigation is one of the major grievances. A raw deal was meted out to the region regarding the allocation and utilisation of river waters. Telangana is encircled by two major rivers of south India [ Images ] — Krishna and Godavari. In Andhra Pradesh, 68.5 percent of the catchment area of Krishna and 69 percent catchment area of Godavari are in the Telangana region. In addition, most of the tributaries of these rivers traverse its length and breadth. If the waters of these rivers are properly utilised, almost every acre of cultivable land available in Telangana could be provided with assured irrigation facilities and every village could be provided with assured drinking water facilities.
But Telangana has been denied its rightful share in the river waters by successive governments over the last four and a half decades, irrespective of the political parties and leaders in power.
Education is another issue. At the time of formation of Andhra Pradesh it was assured that disparities in the levels of development in different regions of the state, including in education, would be removed in five to ten years time. But even after 47 years, the literacy rate in Telangana continues to be lowest in the state.
Industries is another aspect. No major industry worth its name has been setup in any of the districts of Telangana region as compared to the establishment of several industries in Visakhapatnam [ Images ], Vijayawada, Kakinada, Nellore, Tirupati, and Cuddapah. Quite a few major industries established in the Telangana region during the period of much maligned Nizam are being closed one after the other by successive governments.
Also there are about 15 lakh jobs in the government and government-funded offices and establishments in the state. Based on the size of population at least 40 percent of these jobs (6 lakh), should have gone to the job seekers from Telangana. But the total number of jobs now occupied by them is less than 3 lakh. There are more than 5,000 employees in the state’s secretariat. Out of them not even 10 percent belong to the Telangana region. There are more than 130 posts of heads of departments but only 7 or 8 are from Telangana.
What happens to Hyderabad which is the bone of contention? Are you willing to give up Hyderabad and form Telangana without it?
Why should we give up Hyderabad? Hyderabad is a part of Telangana and I think that there should be no debate whatsoever. I would like to ask as to why in the first place does anyone even bother debating this aspect? Even if you look at it geographically, the demand by the people of Andhra and Rayalseema is ridiculous. They have no access to Hyderabad. It is an integral part of Telangana and should remain that way.
What if you are asked to make a compromise on Hyderabad?
There is no question of compromise on this issue.
Why is Hyderabad becoming such a debating point?
This is entirely created. Everyone knows that once Telangana is formed, it would have Hyderabad as its capital. A lot of people in power want to retain Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh due to a comfort zone that they are in. Most of these people are involved with realtors and they will benefit.
There are huge business interests in Hyderabad. What about those persons? What do they do?
Who is preventing business people from coming into Hyderabad or who is forcing them to leave? It will continue the way it is and people can do business freely. Yes there are some businessmen who are opposing Hyderabad going away from Andhra Pradesh. I want to ask these businessmen one question. Have you come here to do business or rule over us? We are not asking them to leave the city. They are like tenants and we will take care of them.
What do you have to say about the split in the Congress over this issue. Nearly 50 MLAs have already resigned?
These MLAs have always opposed the formation of the state for their vested interests. If they are resigning and the party is splitting then it is their headache. These are the persons who have ensured the delay and Telangana had always faced a roadblock due to resistance from other regions. It is time they realise the misery of the people and give us our state.
What will happen if the government refuses to part with Hyderabad?
There will be civil war.
That Telangana Rashtriya Samithi and its chief Chandrasekhara Rao have spearheaded the statehood movement is well known. But there is another section that has taken the state by storm for Telangana: the students’ movement. The violence unleashed by the students was a major worry for the state government even as the TRS chief continued with his fast.
Rama Rao, senior member of the Joint Action Committee who led the students’ protest in Hyderabad, says it is no longer a political movement, but the people’s movement.
“We are happy that the Centre has agreed to the demand, but we want to see the process going through completely. In an interview to Vicky Nanjappa, Rao speaks about the movement and Telangana’s future.
Do you think this is a victory or just a tactic to quell the protests?
I think it is a victory. The first part of the battle has been won. However, we would like to see the process going through. Our demand was to grant us a separate state and there are certain procedures that need to be followed. We will keep a close watch on the government and how they treat the situation.
The agitation turned violent. Was it necessary?
All we had was a demand. From day one, I have told students that we should protest in a peaceful manner. This is a democracy and we have the right to protest peacefully. We did not expect the Andhra Pradesh government to get aggressive. In fact, the police force has terrorized the people. Was it a mistake on our part to make a valid demand? Moreover, when KCR took up the fast, the police tried using force to curb him. This was not acceptable to many of us and hence we stepped up the ante. However we have always made our demands through peaceful means. It was the police which was acting violent.
Could you elaborate on the police atrocities?
There are around 25,000 police personnel in the city. What is the government trying to prove? They have been brutal with us. They have resorted to every possible means of violence. Thousands of students have been arrested for staging protest. What shocked us the most is that the police men manhandled some of our female students. This was uncalled for. We have approached the State Human Rights Commission. Moreover, all the universities in the Telangana region have been captured by the police.
Why did the protest intensify to such an extent?
This is not the first time that the students are protesting. The struggle has been on for the past 50 years. We realized that the government was just not serious about the demands and was taking this issue for granted. During earlier agitations, at least 400 students were killed. Do you think we should let their efforts go waste?
What about political parties. This is after all a decision that needs to be made by politicians.
Till now, the parties were saying that they would form Telangana. We realized that they were not serious about it. The time had started to exceed and we began to believe that unless and until we raised our voice, this issue would never be resolved. Hence we decided to come out in the streets and protest. It was no longer a political movement. It has become a peoples’ movement.
Despite empty promises, the people still voted for the Congress. What is your take?
Yes, we realised that. We were assured, but that promise was never fulfilled. What we realized is that the Congress did not give any importance to the public movement and mandate. That is when we decided to take this fight to the streets and by ourselves without any political help. We had no other way to pressurize the government.
If the government backtracks once again, what would you do?
We will continue to protest, but will ensure that it is a peaceful one. We realize that only non-violence will help our cause.
Don’t you think that the students over-reacted by committing suicide?
No. It is very unfair on your part to say that. The students were genuinely concerned and they have been in this state since a long time. It was not done to stage-manage some drama, but their feelings were genuine and we will not let their sacrifice go waste. Moreover, we also realized that the government was targeting students unnecessarily.
So, who should get the credit for the statehood?
The people of Telangana and Chandrasekhara Rao. This is not a victory for the Congress. I know for a fact that they have tried to ensure that KCR and the people don’t get credit for this movement.
What about Hyderabad?
Hyderabad is Telangana and Telangana is Hyderabad. There is no compromise on that. We don’t have any conditions. All we want is Telangana with Hyderabad as its capital.
Why do you think that the Congress was dilly-dallying on this issue?
If Telangana had not seen the light of the day, it was only because of the people of Rayalaseema and the Congress. They have established businesses and have large tracts of land in these areas and at no cost did they want to compromise on their business interest.
Do you think this dream would have become a reality had YSR been alive?
With due respect to the departed leader, I would have to say that he was one of the main reasons for the delay. He did everything to scuttle the movement and also target some of the key leaders. He gave them important posts so that they would soften their stance.
Will Telangana be a prosperous state?
Yes, it will be. At present, there is no development, but there is no denying that it was a rich region. It was with the resources of Telangana that the rest of Andhra Pradesh was built. The government has always been biased in this issue. Not a single chief minister is from the Telangana region and majority of the ministers were from Rayalseema. In the past, we were assured that there would be either a CM or a deputy CM from Telangana, but this too has not happened. Is this not unfair? If we get a separate state, then Telangana will be prosperous
The arrest of David Coleman Headley, an American national held on terror charges by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Chicago earlier this month, is an indicator of the extent which the Lashkar-e-Tayiba could go up to carry an attack on Indian soil. The Lashkar is adopting new strategies to carry out terror strikes; and the latest one, according to the sources in the Intelligence Bureau, is the appointment of doctors.
The first signs of doctors being inducted into the Lashkar was noticed in Jammu and Kashmir a month ago. The Lashkar had made an appeal through its cadres in the Valley that doctors who wish to join the cause of jihad are welcome to join the Lashkar. The plan was to send in a doctor during a terror attack like the one on Mumbai on 26/11. The doctor could treat the terrorists during the attack.
The IB says that till date, the Lashkar has appointed over 15 doctors and are on the look-out for more. Apart from this, the Lashkar cadres across the country too have been told specifically to include doctors during the recruitment process.
The 15 doctors were sent to Pakistan for training. Out of those, seven have returned and have joined the cadres in the Valley. The IB says that these doctors will accompany cadres all the time and would provide medical aid in times of need.
The second phase of the recruitment process is already underway. The IB says that not all the recruited doctors are fully qualified. The Lashkar has made it clear that the doctors need to be well-versed in dealing with emergency situations. These doctors, apart from providing first-aid, will also have to deal with treating bullet injuries and other problems that may occur during the course of an attack.
It is now a well-known fact that terror groups from Pakistan are planning a bigger attack on India. Ilyas Kashmiri, the chief of the Al Qaeda’s 313 brigade, too had claimed in an interview that they — along with the Lashkar — had plans to launch Ghazb-e-Hind, a terror operation aimed at creating mayhem in India.
Kashmiri had also stated that what was seen in Mumbai was nothing, and they have something bigger planned. The IB says that this means that they are planning to send a larger force to carry out attacks in India.
Medical experts would back such teams of terrorists, so that the cadres can wage the battle for a longer period.