The revelations of Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jindal, arrested for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, have confirmed the suspicion that they were carried out with state support, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has said.
The contention that the attacks were perpetrated by non-state players was no more valid. “I’m not pin-pointing… any particular agency, but there was state support,” he said at a press conference here on Wednesday.
The world appreciated India’s restraint and patience in tracking down the attackers. “We have been tracking Jindal for a year. Jindal is a pseudonym. He was identified a year ago. We tracked [him] down, found him and apprehended him. We are tracking all 26 masterminds of the 26/11 attacks. Pakistan comes out poorly, while this shows us in a good light.”
Mr. Chidambaram said he had received a note from Pakistan Senior Adviser on Interior Rehman Malik after the arrest of Ansari, requesting India to share information about him. “We will do that in due course, but I insist that Pakistan keep its promise and give us the voice samples [of the masterminds]. Let’s see how Pakistan reacts.” India would track down every single mastermind and accomplice. Pakistan would be pressured to deliver those being sheltered there.
The Minister noted that violence had come down significantly in the Northeast and Kashmir in recent months; it was only in the central States that it was at unacceptable levels.
He said 75 per cent of all violent incidents occurred in 26 districts affected by the left-wing extremism, and four of them — one in Maharashtra and three in Chhattisgarh — were badly affected. There were a lot of difficulties in tackling left-wing extremism. Police action and development should go hand in hand. Furthermore, law and order was a State subject; the Centre could intervene only with the help of the State governments. Except for Maharashtra, none of the Maoist-affected States was ruled by the Congress.
Asked about Maoist presence in Kerala, Mr. Chidambaram said he did not perceive any significant presence of Maoists in the State, though there was a greater concern about fundamentalists.
Mr. Chidambaram, along with Law and Minorities Minister Salman Khurshid and Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, was in the State as part of the ruling United Progressive Alliance’s campaign to highlight its achievements in the past three years.
Ms. Soni said the government laid stress not only on economic growth, but on growth with a human face.
Mr. Khurshid spoke about the government’s efforts to bring down the pendency of court cases. The last drive helped to reduce the number of cases by six lakh. Every year, five lakh cases were being added. Of the cleared cases, 1.36 lakh related to senior citizens and the marginalised sections. Another drive would be conducted from July 12 to December 31 to clear cases older than five years, which account for 26 per cent of the pending cases.
In the past three years, more than three lakh under-trial prisoners, charged under various provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, were released on personal bonds. Eight Delhi courts had gone paperless, with judgments being made available online; more courts would follow suit.
Anita Joshua reports from Islamabad:
Pakistan on Wednesday was quick to respond to Mr. Chidambaram’s statement.
Briefing journalists here, Senior Adviser Interior Rehman Malik described the charge as a “propaganda campaign” against the Inter Services Intelligence; adding that Pakistan took pride in its spy agency. In turn, Mr. Malik sought detailed information from India on the leads it had got so that Pakistan could act on them.
Pointing out to the Indian nationals nabbed in the Mumbai terror attacks, Mr. Malik said India should look inwards instead of always pointing the accusing finger at Pakistan. “Zabiuddin Ansari is an Indian.” When Ansari did everything in India, he questioned why Pakistan was being held solely responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks. “That means your agencies failed to control their citizens. Please look at your system also.’’