Justice long overdue in Mumbai attacks: US secy of state

Blinken indirectly expressed frustration with Pakistan for dragging its feet on punishing the perpetrators of the attacks
The Maharashtra Police Boys Sanghatana pays tribute to the martyrs of the 26/11 terror attacks on its 13th anniversary, at the Gateway of India, in Mumbai, India, on Friday. (HT PHOTO)
The Maharashtra Police Boys Sanghatana pays tribute to the martyrs of the 26/11 terror attacks on its 13th anniversary, at the Gateway of India, in Mumbai, India, on Friday. (HT PHOTO)
Updated on Nov 27, 2021 03:43 AM IST
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ByYashwant Raj

US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Friday, the 13th anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks, said justice was long overdue, and without directly naming Pakistan, expressed frustration with the country for dragging its feet on punishing the perpetrators of the attacks.

“Thirteen years have passed since the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai,” Blinken wrote in a tweet. “On today’s anniversary, we remember the victims, including six Americans, and the resiliency of Mumbaikars.”

“It is long overdue for the perpetrators to face justice,” he added.

On November 26, 2008, 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists from Pakistan arrived by sea route and opened fire, killing 166 people, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others during the 60-hour siege in Mumbai.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Hotel, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital and the Nariman House Jewish community centre, now renamed Nariman Light House, were some of the places targeted by terrorists.

Nine terrorists were later killed by the security forces, including the NSG, the country’s elite commando force. Ajmal Kasab was the only terrorist who was captured alive. He was hanged four years later on November 21, 2012.

India and several other countries, including the US, the UK and France, have repeatedly asked Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 attacks to justice, but no such firm initiative has been taken yet by Islamabad.

The US tried and punished David Headley, a Pakistan-American, who had visited India to scout the targets hit by the attackers. He is currently serving a 35-year jail term.

Tahawwur Rana, a Canadian-Pakistani, was also sentenced in the US to 14 years of imprisonment for providing support to LeT.

Pakistan has dragged its feet prosecuting Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rahman, the man who directly led the operations, even as India has shared detailed evidence with Islamabad on a number of occasions.

The National Investigation Agency has already completed its probe against all the perpetrators and shared detailed evidence with Pakistani authorities several times, but there has been no response till date.

Saeed was arrested and released several times by the Pakistan government, prompting the former Donald Trump-led US administration, on one occasion, to warn of “repercussions”.

He was finally sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2020 in two terror cases.

Rahman, likewise, was finally tried and convicted in January this year for of terror financing

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022