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Headley scouted attack sites in Mumbai; prior attacks were attempted

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(DIYA TV) — David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani-American man who helped to mastermind the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India’s financial hub, told a court Monday he traveled to the country seven times, using the trips as reconnaissance missions to scout potential targets for a Pakistan-based militant group.

The deposition has been a long time coming for Indian officials, whom have held high-hopes of establishing a direct link between the militant group and the assaults on Mumbai, which left more than 163 dead.

From a television screen at an undisclosed location in the United States—where he is serving a 35-year prison sentence for his role in the attacks—Headley repeated previous statements that Pakistan’s main spy agency was heavily involved in the planning and execution of the attacks. Ujjwal Nikam, an Indian public prosecutor, led the questioning, which will continue more over the coming days.

Nikam, and the Indian government, hope enough evidence will be gathered through the questioning to pressure the Pakistani government to take action against the attack’s conspirators.

Men like Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi—regarded as a commander of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group which is believed to have overseen the 2008 attacks. Lakhvi has been free on bail in Pakistan since 2014.

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the militant group’s founder, still lives and roams freely in Lahore, located in northern Pakistan. This despite the $10 million reward the United States has offered for his capture and arrest.

Headley has linked several terrorist plots to the group—he previously told US prosecutors that Lashkar “operated under the umbrella of ISI,” and that one agency official in 2006 offered to pay him for his recon missions to India before the attacks. He mirrored the same sentiments to Indian investigators when they visited him in the United States.

Through Headley’s testimony on Monday, Indian officials learned that fateful day in 2008 could have been the second, or even third attack—he opined that the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai on Nov. 26, 2008 balked two prior attempts on the city, one in September and one in October. One of the attempts was botched so poorly, the attackers had to swim back to shore after their boat hit a rock, which sunk their arms and ammunitions.

Adding insult to injury, Headley said he changed his name to sound more American as he was told by his Lashkar contact that it would result in easier entrance into India. Currently age 55, Headley is the son of a Pakistani poet and diplomat Syed Saleem Gilani, and Philadelphia socialite A. Serrill Headley. After being convicted of distributing heroin in the United States, Headley struck a deal to travel to Pakistan in 2002 to provide the Drug Enforcement Administration with information of heroin trafficking.

Pakistani officials wouldn’t be fooled, capturing Headley quickly, alongside the company of another drug smuggler—at that point, the Pakistani government, too, decided to turn Headley into an informant.

While working as an DEA informant, Headley began his training with Lashkar, since then, a girlfriend and two former wives of Headley’s have approached U.S. officials saying they suspected him of sympathizing with terrorist groups. No action was ever taken.

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Rep. Jayapal introduces bipartisan Kashmir resolution

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Jayapal

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — Democratic Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal introduced bipartisan legislation in the House asking India to preserve religious freedom for all, reopen all communications & release those detained without charge in Jammu & Kashmir. Jayapal also celebrated the release of Dr. Mubeen Shah, a Kashmiri business leader who was detained, she was instrumental in helping. Meanwhile, the Indian government announced there is no movement restriction in Jammu & Kashmir, transportation services are normal, as are schools, government offices and courts. In addition, India says all landlines have been restored throughout the region, but broadband continues to be limited on mobile devices in Kashmir.

A 23 year old woman who was set on fire in Uttar Pradesh while heading to testify against her alleged rapists died in a New Delhi hospital burn unit. Police have the five suspects allegedly involved in the attack in custody.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Suspects in Hyderabad gang rape murder killed by police

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Suspects in Hyderabad gang rape murder killed by police | Diya TV News

Hyderabad, India (Diya TV)  — Four suspects in the rape and murder of a 27-year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad were killed by police, who claim the four men were shot in self-defense. The action is drawing praise from the family of the victim but criticism from some lawmakers and civil rights groups.

Protests erupted in India this week seeking justice for this latest victim of sexual assault. Earlier in the week, a 23-year-old woman in Uttar Pradesh heading to testify against a man who allegedly raped her multiple times was set on fire by a group of five men she says included her rapist, who was free on bail. She remains in critical condition.

In a terse letter denouncing impeachment proceedings, The White House signaled it does not intend to mount a defense of President Trump or otherwise participate in the House impeachment hearings. The decision by the administration likely accelerates the pace of impeachment. Hearings continue Monday.

Texas Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher introduced legislation to honor Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal’s memory by renaming a post office in Houston in his honor.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian rape survivor set on fire before trial testimony

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Rape

UNNAO, India (Diya TV)  — A 23-year-old woman in India heading to testify against a man who allegedly raped her multiple times was set on fire by a group of five men she says included her rapist, who was free on bail. Doctors at the Lucknow hospital she was brought to say she is in very serious condition, with burn injuries to 90% of her body. Local police say all five suspects are in custody. India’s National Commission for Women are seeking a detailed report regarding the number of reported heinous crimes committed against women and bail granted in such cases.

Nithyananda, a popular guru that faces charges of abduction and rape in India, announced he was establishing the Republic of Kailaasa on an island off the coast of Ecuador, which he claims will be the “world’s greatest and purest Hindu nation,” with promises of free education, free healthcare, free food and the revival of the temple based lifestyle, In addition to facing charges in Gujarat over multiple allegations, French authorities are investigating Nithyananda after one of his French devotees complained the guru had cheated him out of $400,000.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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