Mumbai, March 25 (IANS) Pakistani-American LeT terrorist-turned-approver David Coleman Headley said here on Friday that he nursed a hatred towards India and Indians since December 1971 when his school was bombed by Indian fighter planes during India-Pakistan war which saw the creation of Bangladesh.
“I have this hatred… towards Indian since December 7, 1971… When Indian planes had bombed my school… The school was destroyed and many people who worked there had died,” Headley claimed on the third day of his ongoing cross-examination before Special Judge G. A. Sanap on Friday.
He was replying to the questions posed by lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan, the defence cousel for Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, one of the key plotters of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
Headley was referring to the bombing of his school during the India-Pakistan war which saw the dismemberment of East Pakistan that became Bangladesh.
The childhood incident when he was barely 10 years old left such an imprint on his tender mind that Headley decided to join the Lashkar-e-Taiba later to avenge the bombing of his school.
He admitted that it was one of the reasons why he joined the LeT years later.
In another disclosure, Headley, 56, said he made attempt to organise a fund-raising programme for the Shiv Sena party and even invite the party’s founder-patriarch, the late Bal Thackery to the US, but he had no plans to attack him there.
Incidentally, on February 12 he had revealed a plot to kill the late Bal Thackeray and on March 24 (Thursday) he spoke of an attack made on him (Thackeray) with the attacker caught but managed to escape from police custody.
Headley said that he was in touch with the then Shiv Sena Public Relations Officer Rajaram Rege whom he had earlier befriended in connection with the planned trip for the late Thackeray.
Though Headley never met the late Thackeray, he was open to inviting some other Sena leader after Rege informed that the senior Thackeray was old and unwell, he said.
Headley is being cross-examined by Khan via video-conferencing from an unknown location in the US where he is currently undergoing a 35-year jail sentence for the 26/11 and Denmark terror strikes.
David Coleman Headley – born as Daood Sayed Gilani on 30 June 1960 is an American terrorist of Pakistani origin, and a spy who conspired with the Lashkar-e-Taiba in plotting the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
While government officials in India cite full cooperation by U.S. authorities, yet covert knowledge exists that it is otherwise.
India has demanded explanations why Headley was allowed to travel freely for years between India, Pakistan, and the U.S., and why he was working undercover for the DEA.
Some Indian analysts have speculated that David Headley was a double agent for the Central Intelligence Agency that had infiltrated LeT, an accusation denied by the CIA.
As soon as Headley was arrested in Chicago, the Indian media had a barrage of questions for the government about him, whose answers were slow in coming. Among other questions, Indian investigators wanted the FBI to share its tapes of Headley’s communications with his Pakistani handlers to match with the voices taped on cell phones during the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
News reports in October 2010 revealed that U.S. authorities had much advance knowledge about Headley’s terrorist associations and activities.
Since Headley’s guilty plea, India has repeatedly asked why U.S. will not extradite Headley to India.