|NEW DELHI: As the details of a fresh Lashkar plot to target India emerge, it appears that a conflict of priorities may have come in the way of its
plan to launch another Mumbai-style attack.
Documents submitted by the FBI to the Illinois district court against two US-based LeT terrorists — David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana — suggest that the duo diverged from the Lashkar leadership on attacking India. While the Lashkar leader, introduced by FBI to the US court as LeT Member A, wanted them to focus on India, both Headley and Rana were fixated on attacking the Danish newspaper whose decision to print cartoons of Prophet Moha-mmad in 2005 angered Muslims worldwide.
The FBI dossier suggests HuJI commander Ilyas Kashmiri was in agreement with US-based Lashkar terrorists. It also appears LeT went along with the plan initially before deciding to put India — their pet hate — on top of their “to do” list. The switch of priorities surprised Headley, originally Daood Gilani, and Rana but did not distract them from their Danish project.
The divergence came to the fore when Lashkar commander — LeT Member A in the US court’s records — insisted that the mission in India needed to be accomplished first. FBI special agent Lorenzo Benedict told the Illinois court, “In July and August 2009, Headley exchanged a series of emails with LeT Member A including an exchange in which Headley asked if the Denmark project was on hold, and whether a visit to India that LeT Member A had asked him to undertake was for the purpose of surveilling targets for a new terrorist attack. These emails reflect that LeT Member A was placing a higher priority on using Headley to assist in planning a new attack on India than on completing the planned attack in Denmark.”