Headley and I
S. Hussain Zaidi
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For most of his childhood, Rahul Bhatt did not know a father's unconditional love a vacuum that the advent of David Coleman Headley filled for a while. David Headley: the dashing, intriguing Pakistani with one brown eye and a green one, a man who could pass himself off as American quite easily, a charmer of men and women alike.
Headley inveigled his way into Rahul's simple world and, in no time, swept him off his feet. It is only when ten men made a mockery of Mumbai in a well-planned act of terrorism, that Rahul realized how close he had come to being a part of the careful plotting and the innumerable recces that Headley carried out.
This is a complex tale of human relationships and the deceit therein. It is the story of Rahul Bhatt, an aspiring Bollywood actor, and his encounter with David Coleman Headley, the man who was responsible for a ruthlessly executed carnage, in which 166 people were killed and over 300 injured in the fifty-nine hours that brought Mumbai to heel and shook India. A pulse-racing narrative, told in the voices of Bhatt and Headley, Headley and I traces the months leading up to the horrors of 26/11 and the long months of interrogation that followed.
HEADLEY AND I S. Hussain Zaidi with Rahul Bhatt Foreword by Mahesh Bhatt FOREWORD ‘You have a choice, son. Either you go through life whining like a victim, wearing your troubled childhood like a badge on your sleeve and earning sympathy from people who don’t matter or care, or you become a survivor. You use your pain and your rage as fuel to hurl you to the top of the heap. I did the latter. That is why I am where I am. Do you know, all said and done, you and I do have one thing in
day, at one of the gatherings, Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi rose to speak. I was introduced to him later that day, and I asked him about furthering my learning and fighting for the cause of jehad. But Lakhvi and others at the ijtema that day told me that I was totally ignorant and had no real knowledge of Islam. They advised me to get some kind of initial training to become a true Muslim first. I was asked to attend something called Daura-e-Amma. This is the basic orientation given to all those who are
Gateway. By now I was quite used to not being intercepted. My activities, which could clearly be deemed very suspicious, went completely unnoticed—surprising, since Mumbai is supposed to be constantly on the radar of terrorists. In between these trips, I also indulged in a little fishing to calm my mind. That too went unquestioned, even though I knew that I cut a strange spectacle, a white man on a local boat, catching fish with the local fishermen. I caught a decent number of fish, and gave
carnage? I had dealt with quite a few upsets in my life, but now my world came crashing down. This was the man I had known so well, or at least thought I had known so well! I wanted to call him Dad, something I had missed doing all my life. And they were actually calling him a terrorist! When you hear of some horror from afar, it is easy to sympathize with it, but when it happens in front of your eyes, it takes on a whole new meaning. To me, and to the people of Mumbai, a terrorist had always
addict, willing to play ball with anyone that would provide him the means to do so. If you had watched the 14-day interview by the FBI upon his arrest, you realize that he was definitely NOT an American asset. He had used the DEA when it was convenient for him to do so. When he returned to Pakistan in late 2001, he was really his man, leaning toward LeT,’ wrote the former US intelligence man. Headley was apparently plucked out of LeT and put in the big league after his handlers in Pakistan were