Groups hostile to India possibly behind Mumbai bomb blasts – minister

2011-07-14 07:16

Mumbai – All militant outfits “hostile to India” are being treated as possible suspects behind a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai that killed 17 people, Home Minister P Chidambaram said today.

Stressing that it was too early “to point a finger at any one group”, Chidambaram told a press briefing that there had been no claim of responsibility for yesterday evening’s explosions.

“All groups hostile to India are on the radar. We are not ruling out anything. We are not ruling in anything. We are looking at everyone,” he said.

Chidambaram, who flew to Mumbai just hours after three bombs ripped through busy areas of the country’s financial capital, said forensic teams were sifting through evidence to determine the precise nature of the blasts.

“I am confident that ... we will be able to zero in on the group that caused these bomb blasts,” he added.

Suspicions initially fell on two Islamist groups that have targeted India in the past: the home-grown Indian Mujahideen and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Chidambaram, the minister responsible for internal security, insisted that yesterday’s blasts could not be blamed on lax intelligence.

“There was no intelligence failure,” Chidambaram said, adding that security had been beefed up in Mumbai in the wake of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks by Islamist gunmen that left 166 dead.

The minister said intelligence gathering had successfully “neutralised” a number of planned attacks in the past two and a half years, but declined to give details.

At the same time, he argued that Indians lived “in the most troubled neighbourhood in the world” and therefore all cities in India were “vulnerable” to attack.

“Whoever perpetrated the attack has worked in a very callous manner. Maybe it’s a very small group working in a clandestine manner,” he said.

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