According to the Indian police, Kwaja has been involved in other terrorist plots.
According to the police, Khwaja, who is a close associate of Shahid Bilal, a Huji commander, masterminded the suicide attack on Hyderabad's Special Task Force (STF) headquarters in October 2005. Khwaja told the police that he and his accomplices attacked the STF office to avenge the killing of Hyderabad youth Mujahid Saleem by a team of the Gujarat police in the Andhra capital in 2004.The Gujarat Riots took place in 2002. Apparently, the numbers involved have been the topic of considerable dispute.
Khwaja rose through the ranks to become a commander of the Harkat-ul-Jihadi, better known as Huji, following the death of his classmate Shahid Bilal, the mastermind of the Hyderabad twin blasts. Educated in a convent school in Hyderabad, he is one among the many youth who took to jihad following the Gujarat riots.
"The Gujarat riots was a reaction to the Godhra train burning. An entire coach was burnt down by a mob of 2,000 local Muslims in which 58 Hindus were killed. The victims included 25 women, 14 children that were returning from Ayodhya. Hindu mobs rioted after this incident. Gujarat administration completely failed to control the riots effectively in time. More than 700 people from both the communities were killed in this and the following riots.”
What is the actual toll of Gujarat Riots?The Gujarat riots might be the topic for another day. But until then, one might consider them a triggering event, as described by this expose in Frontline (India's National Magazine) from January 2004:
NOT 2000, 5000 or 10000 as may be claimed by the Jihadis and anti-nationals.
The death toll is about 700+ (including 58 killed by the strong mob of 2000)
Hindus 250+ Muslims 400+ Policemen 100+ .......facts and figures
Memories of the demolition of the Babri Masjid had begun to fade, and even the war in Jammu and Kashmir attracted little attention among South Asian Muslims. Then, in 2002, came the communal massacres in Gujarat: and the voice of the Lashkar's spiritual head began to resonate in many young minds. Along with hard currency, terror has now become a major remittance to India: a source of growing concern to the intelligence community. Lashkar cells based in Kuwait and Dubai have emerged as central to several major terrorist actions in India over the last two years.
Gujarat made Lashkar relevant. The strategy of tension.
Today The Hindu reports new connections made since the arrest of Khwaja:
Mumbai police investigators say they may have succeeded in putting a face to an until-now-unidentified Indian Lashkar-e-Taiba operative who played a key role in guiding the operations of the team that attacked Mumbai in November 2008.
Based on information provided by India’s intelligence services, as well as interviews with arrested jihadists, the police believe the Indian national in the Lashkar’s control room could be Syed Zabiuddin Syed Zakiuddin Ansari, a Lashkar-linked Maharashtra resident who has been a fugitive since 2005.
The unidentified Indian operative was one of several Lashkar personnel who used voice-over-internet links to provide orders to the assault team. Last month, The Hindu had broken the news that one of the operatives in the Lashkar control station spoke Mumbai-inflected Hindi, in stark contrast to the Punjabi used by the others.
Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the Lashkar terrorist arrested in the course of the assault, said his team had been trained by an Indian national identified as Abu Jindal — the alias also used by the unidentified controller, and a nom de guerre known to have been adopted by Ansari in the past.
The police say Ansari played a key role in a plot to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, an operation meant to avenge the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat. Ansari is alleged to have been the key leader of an Aurangabad-based Lashkar cell, which received assault rifles and military-grade explosives from Pakistan to stage an attack which would have closely resembled the Mumbai operation in tactics and execution.
Eleven men linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Students Islamic Movement of India were held for their alleged role in the 2005 Aurangabad-based plot. However, Ansari eluded the police after a high-speed car chase and has been sought by Interpol since then. He was last sighted at a Lashkar safe house in Karachi by Hyderabad-based jihadist Mohammad Amjad Khwaja, who was arrested earlier this year.
Imran Babar, one of the two terrorists who took hostages at the Chabad House Jewish prayer centre, was told by the Hindi-speaking controller [Ansari] to call the media with a manifesto to condemn what he described as the Indian government’s “two-faced policy” towards Muslims.
The Lashkar manifesto demanded that Muslims held in jails be released; the Indian Army be pulled out of Jammu and Kashmir; the land on which the Babri Masjid stood be returned to Muslims and a new mosque constructed; India break off its alliance with Israel; and what the organisation called “Muslim states be handed back to the Muslims.”
To recap: Khwaja was planning and recruiting for attacks on Western tourists in Goa. But he was captured. (Phew!) After capture, he gave Indian investigators intelligence that led to the UK raising it's terror alert. So very helpful. Now he has also given up the intelligence that Ansari, who last got away after a high-speed car chase (eyeroll), was the very same guy with the Mumbai Hindi accent, who directed one of the two terrorists who held the Chabad House, to contact the media with a Muslim "manifesto."
So you can see what a good thing it was they they captured Khwaja, hmm? He's providing some "new" information that will allow the investigations to take some twists and turns and swerves, to avoid all the giant holes in the Mumbai narrative.
As an afterthought, it's interesting to note that Kasab flip flops -- until he says something useful. Then he's a good witness.