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Why would my husband attack India, my second home: Rana's wife

June 07, 2011 13:27 IST
Samraz, the wife of Mumbai attacks co-accused Tahawwur Rana, said on Tuesday that India was her second home and there was no reason her husband would have planned to attack that country.

Refuting Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative David Headley's claims that Rana was very close to him and had helped him plot the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008, Samraz said, Headley was just an "Urdu-speaking American friend" to her family who had claimed to have reformed following drug addiction issues and arrests.

"India is my second home and my mother is from India. All my relations are from India and they live in Meerut, Ghaziabad and Delhi," Samraz said, asking why would then her husband plot an attack on that country.

Samraz was present in the courtroom where Rana's lawyers presented their defence, wearing glasses and dressed in a cream-coloured salwar kameez with a yellow dupatta covering her head.
In an interview to PTI, she said Headley had been involved in a lot of drug arrests, and had had issues with the FBI and also with his wives.

"The only connection was that Rana and Headley were together in college for three years in Cadet College Abdal Hasan in Pakistan," said she said, adding that Headley had "different faces" as shown by him in the court.

Samraz, a doctor herself, who used to practice in Pakistan, said her husband used to keep Headley at bay because of his bad habits and drug addiction. But after his drug involvement and arrests, Headley came back to Rana and told him, "I have changed".

Rana, who felt Headley had had a change of heart, then embraced him into his family, she said.

Born of an American mother and a Pakistani father, Headley had had a troubled and distorted past. Samraz said that she did not know that Headley had a terrorist connection. Samraz said Headley was considered an Urdu speaking American friend, who spoke English well and showed her children American movies as he owned a video rental store.

Headley has stated during his testimony that he considered the Chicago businessman "his best friend in the world".       
But Rana's wife rubbished this. "Headley had different faces and the face he brought in court is proof of this. We have seen him in court," she said.

Rana and his family have been in Chicago for the past 15-16 years, and Samraz says the community has been supportive of her family after her husband's arrest. However, they afraid to do business with them for fear of falling into trouble.

"Although people are still friendly, they are scared. People are afraid to do business with us after the arrest. They feel they will get into trouble if they do business with us," said Rana's wife.

Rana's lawyer Charles Swift also agreed that people were scared to do business with the Ranas but said, "The community is supporting their family 100 per cent".

Samraz said that Headley used to refer to her as "sister" but being a Muslim, she hardly used to appear before unrelated men. She also said that the Indian media had exaggerated facts and even given certain incorrect reports in connection with the case, unlike the American media, which has been more reasonable in covering it.

"Indian media exaggerates a lot. They have to see the truth first," she said. "American TV channels are writing better. Indian media should write truly and better and not go by the India-Pakistan enmity," Samraz said.

Rana, used to own a grocery shop that sells meat and an immigration office called First World Immigration Services Inc at Devon Avenue, the heart of the South Asian community in Chicago. He also owns a farm in Kinsman, Illinois.

After the arrest of Rana, however, the business had suffered. "Business is slow because of all these things and I am taking care of the business after Rana's arrest," she added.

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