A day after the blasts, Mumbaikars slowly returned to normal even though home minister P Chidambaram said India was in the most troubled neighbourhood in the world and “all cities in India are vulnerable to attack. Pakistan-Afghanistan is the epicentre of terror”.
Chidambaram, who reached Mumbai on Wednesday night itself, however, admitted that no specific lead had emerged as yet on the serial blasts that left 17 dead — the death toll was brought down on Thursday from 21 — and 113 injured.
The anti-terrorist squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra Police is probing every possible hostile group to identify the people behind Wednesday’s terror attack. Even the involvement of a suicide bomber is not being ruled out. The ATS on Thursday identified from CCTV footage at least three suspects moving about near Khau Galli at Opera House just before the blast occurred.
An investigating officer said on condition of anonymity that the three did not “fit” in the crowd and did not seem to know each other. “They are, however, seen using mobile phones whereas the Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives have stopped using cellphones.”
On Thursday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi arrived in Mumbai, with Singh assuring the nation that his government would “do everything in its power” to prevent Mumbai-like terror attacks in future.
Earlier, the PM cancelled a series of meetings in Delhi as he decided to go to Mumbai after the serial blasts. A cabinet meeting, a meeting of the cabinet committee and a special meeting with his entire team of ministers were cancelled on Thursday.
Chidambaram told the media at Sahyadri, the state guest house, located just a few kilometres from two of the blast sites at Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar, that the blasts were not aimed at unnerving the business centres.
He said, “I walked on these lanes yesterday… I think they chose places where even a low-intensity blast would have a great impact,” he said.
Meanwhile, top BJP leaders LK Advani and Arun Jaitley sought to corner the UPA government by blaming its policy for terrorism in the country and questioned the wisdom behind pursuing talks with Pakistan.
Advani rushed to the blast sites and declared: “It is the government’s policy failure rather than intelligence failure that led to such incidents.”
He said the terror attacks were a proxy war waged by Pakistan, and the government “must be categorical that there will be no tolerance towards terrorism after Wednesday’s attacks”.