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India points finger at Pak; gives it an earful

Amberish K Diwanji & Vijay Singh in Mumbai | August 26, 2003 14:58 IST
Last Updated: August 26, 2003 21:17 IST

With probe agencies pointing a finger at Pakistan for Monday's twin blasts in Mumbai that claimed 52 lives, India on Tuesday gave an earful to its neighbour with Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and the Ministry of External Affairs issuing sharp statements.

Advani, short of directly accusing Pakistan, said India's successful democracy has not gone down well with some countries.

"India's growth, its success both as a democracy and as a secular country with a large Muslim population, its economic progress are the factors at the root of the neighbour's hostility. It is wrong to attribute it only to differences over Jammu and Kashmir," he said during a visit to the metropolis.

Advani said while the perception is that India's problem with Pakistan is Jammu and Kashmir, 'the fact is far more widespread'. "Mumbai only highlighted that," he said.

The deputy prime minister said preliminary investigations indicated the involvement of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the banned Students Islamic Movement of India.

Pointed out that Lashkar is supposed to be promoting the cause of Kashmir, he said, "It should then be interested only in J&K. But it is involved in Mumbai too."

Mumbai blasts: The complete coverage

Advani said Pakistan's condemnation of the incident could be regarded 'earnest' only if it handed over 19 absconders wanted by India. "Once again I am asking Pakistan to hand over them to us," Advani said.

Out of the list of 20 wanted men handed over to Pakistan, close Dawood aide and 1993 Mumbai blasts accused Ejaz Pathan was arrested and deported to India by UAE when he was visiting that country.

He added the blasts were similar to the 1993 serial explosions in the city, where the bombs were hidden in vehicles.

Asked whether the Centre had passed on intelligence inputs about the possibility of such incidents to the state government, he said: "On the eve of the Independence Day and at other times, we get lots of such information, but that (blaming the state government) is hardly a right approach."

Advani said recently arrested SIMI activist Saqib Nachan was among those involved in Mumbai blasts.

Taking off from where Advani left, an MEA spokesman said the scale and frequency of terrorist acts made the task of its sincere well-intentioned peace initiatives 'more difficult'.

"Action to eliminate terrorism cannot but have a positive bearing on the normalisation process," he told a media briefing in Delhi.

He added that India has been stressing 'again and again that the dossier of terrorism cannot be overlooked'.

"Unfortunately, terrorism is deeply entrenched in our region," he said. "Unless the infrastructure of terrorism is totally eliminated and all concerned are resolved to do it sincerely, such threats to our peace and security are likely to continue."

India, he said, has appreciated the messages of support from a number of countries and world leaders. "Clearly, it is a collective combat for the international community."

With additional inputs from PTI

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