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Home grown terror groups experts in bomb making: HM

Last updated on: July 26, 2011 13:56 IST

'Indigenous terror groups no more fledgling outfits'

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Voicing concern over threats posed by indigenous terror groups, Home Minister P Chidambaram has said they are no longer fledgling outfits but are experts in assembling and transporting bombs.

The threat from them is pretty high; he said against the backdrop of the July 13 Mumbai blasts in which 24 people were killed.

"Pretty high. They are no longer fledgling outfits. They have established several modules and they have gained expertise in assembling bombs and transporting bombs," he said.

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Image: Members of the Bomb Squad and Mumbai police at Zaveri Bazaar

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'ATS has good leads into 13/7 blasts'

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Asked whether there was a needle of suspicion pointing at Indian Mujahideen in the recent Mumbai blasts, he said, "No. I have said they (Mumbai Police) have not shared any details and I am not in a position to share any details."

He said the last reports he got was that Mumbai Police's Anti-Terrorism Squad had some good leads. "Since they have not shared any more details, I am in no position to share any details," he said.

Asked if there are any suspects, he said, "there are good leads."

To a question whether the July 13 blasts blotted his record, he said there have been two blasts in Pune in 2010 and in Mumbai a fortnight ago.

"Both are setbacks. Both are terrorist incidents undoubtedly. And therefore, to the extent that the Government of Maharashtra could not prevent them and to the extent that the Government of India could not help the Government of Maharashtra to prevent them, is a negative on our record as opposed to the many positives that are on record," he said.

Asked whether the recent Mumbai blasts show glaring holes in preparations like phone lines not working, Chidambaram said, "I think all this is exaggerated. Police officers reached the blast site within 15 minutes. Every single injured person was evacuated within an hour. Twenty-one ambulances were deployed and they were taken to 14 hospitals."

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Image: A police sniffer dog at the site of the explosion at Zaveri Bazaar, south Mumbai
Photographs: Reuters
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'Need to be circumspect when we criticise police'

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He said given the congestion in Mumbai, especially in Zaveri Bazar and Opera House areas, he thought it was a good achievement contrast to what happened in Norway.

Shooting by the sole assassin in Norway, he said, went on for 90 minutes. The police was able to reach the island only after 90 minutes and chief of police of Norway was heard saying on television they had traffic problems on the road to the island.

"I think while criticism is justified but we should be circumspect when we criticise the police," he said.

Asked about the lessons learnt from the 26/11 attacks, he said if the question was about identifying the shortcomings, deficiencies and steps to curb them, "the answer is a resounding yes".

He said the kind of capacity being added in the last two-and-half-years was extraordinary. The Central government alone recruited in 2009-10, 31,854 personnel to various para-military forces and it went up to 61,903 in 2010-11. In 2011-12, the recruitment will go up to 92,168, he said.


Image: An injured man is attended to at the site of a powerful explosion that rocked central Oslo
Photographs: Per Thrana/Reuters
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