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Post blast, India says we'll fight terrorism

India after the blast said it would fight terrorism and said the peace process would not be allowed to be derailed.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2007 16:38 IST

Hours after a suicide attack near the venue of an Indian Republic Day function here on Friday, India reiterated its resolve to "fight terrorism together" with Pakistan and said that the peace process would not be allowed to be derailed.

The declaration came from Indian High Commissioner Satyabrata Pal at a reception to mark India's Republic Day celebrations at the Marriott Hotel, which was rocked by a blast in which the bomber and a security guard were killed.

Pal said the perpetrators of the suspected suicide attack had "failed to achieve" their motive because the Republic Day ceremony was successfully held at the venue even after the incident.

The function was held as scheduled even as the US mission and the British government issued directives to their citizens to avoid the area.

The US embassy said Americans should "avoid the area... and limit unnecessary travel" while the British Foreign Office said in London its citizens should "avoid all restaurants and other areas frequented by Westerners".

A meeting of defence officials from the United States, Afghanistan and
Turkey had taken place in the hotel before the attack.

Interior Secretary Kamal Shah told Dawn newspaper that he had no hesitation in admitting that the blast was a "security lapse". However, he said people should also realise that "it is extremely difficult to prevent suicide attacks at public places".

Aaj TV channel and other media reported on the Indian function. The media personnel earlier got into a clash with the police, in which 25 people were injured.

According to the Daily Times, police swung batons at journalists covering the scene of the attack. Cameramen and photographers were covering the incident when Additional Superintendent of Police Moeen Masood stopped them.

The official ordered his force to baton-charge the journalists who told him that they were only doing their professional duty.

Kamal Shah told journalists that a judicial inquiry into the incident had been ordered and a report would be submitted to the interior minister within 24 hours.

An unexplained blast in the hotel's lobby in October 2004 injured a US diplomat and prompted the hotel to install tight security, including rigorous checks on cars and X-ray detectors.

First Published: Jan 27, 2007 13:43 IST