In the backdrop of arrest and interrogation of Abu Jundal, Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Wednesday that there was clearly state support to the terrorists responsible for the 26/11 massacre in Mumbai.
"When I say, state actors, at the moment, I am not pointing my finger at any particular agency. But clearly there was state support or state actors' support for the 26/11 massacre," he said at a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram.
Jundal, a key handler of 26/11 attackers, was arrested on June 21 on his arrival from Saudi Arabia. Chidambaram said there was clear evidence that Pakistan's official machinery was involved in carrying out the Mumbai terror attack in 2008 which claimed 166 lives.
"He (Jundal) has confirmed that he was in the control room. This has confirmed our suspicion that there was some organised effort. There were some kind of state actors. The
argument that non-state actors were behind the massacre is no longer valid," he said.
The home minister went on to add, "We have always been saying that some state support was behind the act. This (Jundal's interrogation) has broadly confirmed what we have been saying."
Pakistan, he said, has come out poorly as it continues to deny that the handlers of 26/11 terrorists were sitting in that country.
Chidambaram said the world appreciates the way India has been tracking down the 26/11 accused. "But in contrast, Pakistan comes out poorly as a country in denial. As a country which denies that there were controllers and handlers, sitting in somewhere in Pakistan, giving instructions in telephone to Kasab and nine others.
"I think the way they are going about it, puts us in good light and puts Pakistan in bad light," he said. The home minister said the Indian security agencies have been tracking Jundal, Lashkar-e-TaYiba operative, for nearly a year and the information was kept a 'well guarded secret'.
"We had information about him and who he was. Abu Jundal is pseudonym. We had to first identify the person. We identified him almost a year ago. It was a well guarded
secret. None of you discovered it. We tracked him, we found him and we have apprehended him," he said.
The home minister had said on Tuesday that he got a note from Pakistan Interior Ministry Adviser Rehman Malik requesting him to share with Islamabad information that was gathered about 30-year-old Jundal.
"We will do that in due course. But I will insist that Pakistan keeps its promise and gives us the voice samples of all the persons whose list was given. Let's see how Pakistan reacts. It is Pakistan which is under pressure, not India," he said.
Maintaining that he could not share the details of the investigation, Chidambaram said Jundal, a key handler in the Mumbai terror attack, had given a few names and identified the persons who were 'in the control room (at Karachi)' during interrogation.
"Now we are confident that we will be able to track down the masterminds and accomplices," he said. Asked about underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, the home minister said India believed that he was in Pakistan even though Pakistan denied it.
"We think he is there. But Pakistan flatly denies that Dawood Ibrahim is in Pakistan," he said.
Chidambaram said India would continue to pressure Pakistan to hand over all persons wanted in connection with the Mumbai attack who have been given shelter in that country.
"Whenever we have an opportunity we will apprehend them. I am not going to say how we are going to do it. But we will make every effort to track every single mastermind and every single accomplice," he said.
He said there was no connection between Jundal's arrest and release of Surjeet Singh from a Pakistan jail. Asked how he looked at the initial confusion on whether it was Sarabjit or Surjeet who was to be released, he said, "I do not think there was any connection between the arrest of Jundal and release of Surjeet. I cannot say what happened. But it could be due to internal hiccups there."
In the case of Sarabjit, India would continue to press for his release, the minister said.
On internal security, he said the biggest challenge was from Left wing extremism, especially in central India. He said nearly 70 per cent of Left wing extremist violence occurred in 26 districts, among which four are badly affected, one in Maharashtra and three in Chattisgargh.
The government was committed to tackle the problem through a two-pronged approach of police action and development, he added.
Chidambaram disagreed with a question on whether Kerala has become a haven for terrorists, but said two or three organisations seem to be providing some kind of support to extremist outfits.
"We are watching them and if they cross their limits, action will be taken," he said.