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Govt not soft on terror: PM

A day after the Jaipur serial blasts, PM Manmohan Singh brushes aside UPA government’s criticism of being soft on terror, report Rahul Singh and Aloke Tikku.

india Updated: May 14, 2008 23:51 IST
Rahul Singh and Aloke Tikku

A day after the Jaipur serial blasts, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh brushed aside UPA government’s criticism of being soft on terror saying there was no lack of firmness in its resolve to deal with terrorism.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of an investiture ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday, Singh said terrorists had the advantage of springing surprises. “We cannot anticipate everything”. Asked to comment on who might have masterminded the blasts, Singh said, “We are exploring all possibilities. It will be premature to say anything. It will interfere with the ongoing investigations”.

Asked if India was bleeding due to non-enactment of a new anti-terror law after the repeal of Pota, he replied in the negative. The PM went on to enumerate terror incidents that took place during the period when Pota was in force. He recounted terror strikes on Parliament, Raghunath Temple and Akshardham.

On Jaipur blasts, Singh said the best tribute to those who have lost their lives would be to understand the nefarious design to create communal divide in the country. On dissemination of intelligence, the PM said the Centre was sharing all inputs with the state governments. Singh said external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee would discuss all issues of national security with the Pakistani leadership when the latter visits that country starting May 21.

Meanwhile, the central government held on to its initial assessment of the involvement of an unnamed neighbouring country but stopped short of naming the foreign hand.

The blasts smacked of a “deep-rooted and very well-planned conspiracy” by a “neighbouring country, Union minister of state for home affairs, Sriprakash Jaiswal said in Delhi on his return from Jaipur early this morning.

Union home minister Shivraj Patil, who cut short his northeast visit on Wednesday, to return to Delhi will visit Jaipur tomorrow along with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. “The Centre has leads about the elements involved in the strikes,” Patil said.

The junior minister of home affairs also spoke about the possibility of links between the Jaipur blasts and those that had occurred in Varanasi, Faizabad, Ajmer and Hyderabad in the past.

In fact, the latest status report on the internal security situation had indicated that terrorist attacks over the past year had been committed by externally based and sponsored terrorist outfits with some local help. A home ministry official said the pattern was expected to be the same in the Jaipur blast too.