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No clues yet on Mumbai blasts, toll 183

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Last updated on: July 12, 2006 18:18 IST
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Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who visited the Mumbai blast sites and some hospitals, said that the Mumbai police is investigating Tuesday's attacks but have found no clues so far. He also said that 183 persons lost their lives in these blasts and 714 were injured.

"We have lots of information on the incidents in Jammu and Kashmir and Mumbai blasts. In fact we had some success in the former case, where a local Lashkar-e-Tayiba commander has been neutralised in Anantnag district and two persons have been arrested. In Mumbai's case, we have no clues so far. I spoke to the Maharashtra director general of police about the case. We have lots of information but we cannot share it," he said.

"The railway ministry has decided to give Rs 5 lakh to the families of the victims and a suitable job to one person in the family. All the treatment expenses would be met by the railway ministry even in cases of private hospitals. Most of the injured will also be compensated. The state government has also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh each to the family of the victim," he said.

Out of 183 dead, 123 have already been identified and 72 have been handed over to their relatives for conducting last rites, he said.

Talking about the courage and fortitude shown by Mumbaikars, Patil said that one of the injured persons told Sonia Gandhi that they would not let anyone break their unity but the government must taken long-term measures to prevent these attacks.

When asked about the possible perpetrators of the J&K and Mumbai blasts, Patil said though the techniques used were different, it may be that they were planned by the same organisation. This indicated that he did not rule out the possibility of LeT's involvement.

Patil said that issuing strong statements on behalf of his ministry is not enough and what matters at the end of the day is strong action.

"We will show the result to the National Democratic Alliance, who have their own point of view. But, after all, they have also gone through the same experience," Patil said, while answering a question about why the United Progressive Alliance government was soft while dealing with terrorists.

The home minister asserted that these attacks will have no bearing on the confidence-building measures being taken by India and Pakistan to ease tension in Jammu and Kashmir.

"They want to achieve their ends by resorting to violence and creating communal divide. But as Dr Singh said, we will not allow such methods to succeed," he said.

When asked if they had received any leads into the casr, Union Home Secretary V K Duggal said, "There is no lead as of now" but the Maharashtra Police was "very hopeful" about some leads coming in.

"We are confident of getting to the culprits very soon. The investigations are going on in full swing," Duggal said adding, no terrorist outfit has claimed responsibility so far.

He said it was confirmed from the remains of shattered bogies that the explosives used were of "very high intensity and could probably be RDX".

To questions on Tuesday's grenade attacks in Srinagar, the home secretary said while two self-styled LeT commanders were "neutralised" in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, a key supplier of explosives was also likely to be nabbed.

Asked whether there was any connection between the Mumbai and Srinagar attacks, he said the explosives used were different and it was difficult to say that the two attacks were coordinated.

"But the purpose of the people working behind these strikes seem to be somewhat common," Duggal said.

Responding to a spate of questions on which outfit could be responsible for the blasts, the home minister said, "We have information about many things. But it will be difficult to divulge anything. So we are not saying whether so and so is responsible or not."

To a question on the Opposition charge that the UPA government was "soft on terror", Patil said the opposition parties too had gone through such experiences when they were in power.

Asked whether the government would issue a statement condemning the serial explosions, he said the prime minister had already issued a statement and "we will give you the results".

Patil said that one good thing was that normalcy had returned to Mumbai while in Jammu and Kashmir the police were taking effective action.

Praising the media for reporting the incidents in such a manner which instilled confidence among the people, Patil said that Wednesday's attendance in offices was good, trains have started running and the compartments were full.

With PTI inputs

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi