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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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Star ICC Asks Anonymous Accuser Of Sexual Assault Charges To Step Forward

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were "clear instructions" given to make the sales team fulfil the targets.

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#MeToo: Star India internal panel writes to anonymous accuser to come forward

The Internal Complaints Committee of Star India on Sexual Harassment (Star ICC) has written to the anonymous accuser — who had alleged “sexual exploitation” of women employees — asking her to reach out to the committee or its external member on allegations made by her in tweets.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Star ICC, formed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 said it had reached out to the accuser through two emails on the ID provided by her through her tweets. The committee’s external member is Veena Gowda, a Mumbai-based woman rights lawyer.

The accuser, who tweeted through handle @ApurvaS17 — saying she would remain anonymous — had made sexual harassment allegations against the company’s officials in an open letter.

Star ICC
Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt.

Asked to comment on the allegations, a Star India spokesperson said in a statement that despite no response by the anonymous accuser to the messages sent, the Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy” in respect of the allegations.

“We strongly urge any genuine complainant to approach the Star ICC. At Star, we stand with women in drawing the line on any behaviour that violates human dignity or the ability for women to pursue their dreams with respect and freedom. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment,” read the statement in response to an email query by IANS.

It also said that the anonymous tweet shared on October 13 raised an allegation that “runs completely counter to everything we believe in and the norms and values that we deeply embrace.”

The statement further said: “Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt to malign and defame the reputation of the company and the CEO.” It said that Star reserves its right to initiate appropriate legal proceedings in this regard.

Star ICC
The Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy.

The accuser in her tweets had said that the #MeToo movement had encouraged her to come forward and that she had quit her job at Star India in the Airtime Sales section after 26 months and nine days and was now a homemaker, “taking care of my baby and hubby in a beautiful country, far away from Mumbai.”

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were “clear instructions” given to make the sales team fulfil the targets in case they want to continue with their employment contract, “for which even if you have to take the clients to a hotel room and sleep with them for days.”

She said there were many instances when she and three of her female colleagues (interns) had clear instructions to reach a hotel after office hours for a private party hosted for influential friends.

Also Read: India’s Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar Quits Following #MeToo Harassment Allegation By Women

She says the influential friends were “mostly bureaucrats and sometimes politicians and foreign nationals” who were “all ready to violate you, force you to dance against your wishes, drink with them, make drink(s) for them, exchange your numbers and even quietly accompany them to their respective rooms if they want you to”.

Veteran writer-director Vinta Nanda, who earlier this month accused actor Alok Nath of sexually violating her 19 years ago, wrote on Twitter: “I’m neither shocked nor surprised. I salute your courage to have come out and spoken out. The rot runs deep.” (IANS)