Bombs found at station that was given all-clear

Discovery highlighted as another security failure
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Police discovered two left-over explosive devices in Mumbai's main railway station a week after the terror attacks that killed at least 188 people.

In an announcement that came with equal measures of farce and horror, the authorities said the bomb squad had defused two 8lb (3.6kg) devices at the Chhatrapati Shivaji station that had been left there by the militants who terrorised the city last week.

The station was declared safe and opened the day after the attacks. There was no explanation as to why the devices were discovered a full week later.

Thousands gathered in Mumbai yesterday to demand tougher action from politicians and security forces to stop terrorism. The central government's Home Minister has already resigned and the discovery of the bombs will do nothing to hearten those relying on the authorities to protect them.

The slip is the latest alleged failure by security and intelligence services. The navy chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, called India's failure to act on multiple warnings "a systemic failure".

India had received a warning from the United States that militants were plotting a waterborne assault on Mumbai and India's own foreign intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, also had tip-offs as recently as September that Pakistan-based terrorists were plotting attacks on India's financial capital. Authorities believe the gunmen responsible for the attacks reached Mumbai by boat after launching from Karachi, and seizing a fishing boat before coming ashore in dinghies

Indian and US officials blame Pakistan-based militants for the attacks though the evidence made public has been minimal. Only one gunman was taken alive. The usually reliable Hindu newspaper reported that his name was Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman, rather than Kasab, and he was from Pakistan's Punjab province.

He reportedly told interrogators he was one of 20 men who had received months of commando training in Pakistan. Zaki-ur-Rahman, the head of the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant group said to have organised the attacks, had shown the volunteers detailed maps of south Mumbai and footage of the targets.

Indian authorities say former Pakistani army officers oversaw the training that allowed the 10 gunmen to hold off commandos for 60 hours. The training in Pakistani camps had been "meticulous and rigorous", covering close-combat techniques, hostage-taking, explosives-handling, satellite navigation, seamanship and endurance.

The US Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, said FBI agents were assisting Indian police, joining Scotland Yard detectives who are also in Mumbai.

Comments