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Why disclosure of the ‘perfect terrorist’ doesn’t matter?

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By Sarwar Kashani

Political brouhahas about David Coleman Headley notwithstanding, the recent admission of the Pakistan-American terrorist about his already known terror links actually means little to India’s Mumbai attack investigations, not least in New Delhi’s attempt to nail Islamabad’s complicity in the meticulously planned operation.

Headley has off and on been hogging the headlines since his arrest from a Chicago airport in 2009 for his terror odysseys that included surveying targets unsuspectingly in several Indian cities and meeting with senior terrorist operatives of Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan.

And the master plotter did that for years under the nose of intelligence and security agencies without raising the index of suspicion in the countries, including Denmark, where he scouted freely. He managed to do so without being noticed partly because of his deceptive American looks with hetero-chromatic eyes and partly because of his “no-guts-no-glory” attitude.

When he was arrested more than six years ago, Indian authorities had hoped that the big terror catch by the Americans will help nail Pakistan and its terror lies. But that was not to be.

This was revealed by none less than G.K. Pillai, the then home secretary, in an interview with IANS in 2010 when he told me that whatever Headley speaks in the United States, it won’t make the Indian case against the Pakistanis any stronger.

“I don’t think we will get much cooperation from Pakistan. That is not really hoped. We can shout and scream (but) we will have to tackle Pakistan separately,” Pillai told me when an Indian team of investigators visited the US to interrogate Headley in a Chicago prison.

Pillai was unequivocal in saying that any questioning of Headley was not to nail Pakistan, which he said “is a separate issue” and needed a different strategy than getting evidences from the terror mastermind.

That holds good even now, despite the fact that India’s Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju was expecting that Headley’a stating the obvious will end all ambiguity between state and non-state actors involved in the Islamist terrorism that sprouts from Pakistan.

Rijiju, in fact, himself admitted that “it is known that who all were involved” but still the government, he said, believes that “Headley’s statement will lead to a logical conclusion. It will help us.”

The inferences from Headley’s statement and the minister’s reaction are even more obvious. Are we yet to understand that there are no differences between state and non-state actors when it comes to Pakistan’s known support for extremism as an instrument of its foreign policy?

Moreover, Headley has revealed nothing that was not already known. The names of perpetrators, including from the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistan Army have already come up in the terror dossiers — one has lost count of them — India has handed over to Pakistan. The dossiers include DNA samples of the Mumbai attackers, photographs, voice records and detailed operational information of the carnage that was being carried out in India in 2008 and overseen in Pakistan.

In fact, all these so-called “revelations” have already been recorded judicially in a US court. All these statements, including the names of the terror masterminds — Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi — have been recorded by the investigators who interrogated Headley in 2010.

An argument is being made that India did not know all that judicially before Headley spoke to an Indian judge through video conferencing from the US jail. Will it really help to make a case against Pakistan is a question that begs an answer.

Doesn’t look like that is possible. Because the Pakistani court which is hearing the Mumbai attack case against the five accused has rejected as “inadmissible” even what looked like plausible findings of two judicial commissions from that country which visited India for evidence and testimonies. Are we to believe that the Pakistani court will take into account an Indian court’s findings out of Headley’s testimony?

Nothing will change in that country till its security, political and judicial establishments look within and realize in true sense the Frankenstein monster has outgrown everything else there. No Headley’s medley of information, known and unknown, is going to change that. Least of all, the terror policy to destabilize India.

If Headley’s judicially valid statement should change anything, it must be India’s alertness of its intelligence and swiftness of its security agencies to thwart and prevent attacks like at Mumbai, which was planned long before by Lashkar and ISI operatives who had employed the “perfect terrorist” to map the city unnoticed for two years and develop a blueprint for the mayhem that killed 166 Indians and foreigners. (IANS)(Pic Courtesy: www.indiatrendingnow.com)

 

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)