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I apologise to the people of Mumbai: Chidambaram

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram conceded that there was 'security and intelligence failure' in connection with the Mumbai terror attacks.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday admitted to the intelligence and security lapses and assured that steps would be taken to ensure that there is an improvement in measures to tackle terrorism.

“I agree that there has been a failure on the part of the security forces, but this attack will help the Government be more determined in combating terrorism,” Chidambaram said at the state police headquarters in New Delhi on Friday.

“I apologise to the people of Mumbai,” Chidambaram said.

On the possible involvement of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in the attacks, the Home Minister said, “there is ample evidence to link the attack to organisations or entities which have been responsible for terror attacks in the past.”

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“At this stage, it would not be correct to name any organisation but you can draw conclusions,” Chidambaram said.

He also said that there is a proposal to set up an intelligence agency at the national level similar to that of United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) adding that plans in this regard would be announced in Parliament.

“The investigation into the attack has been entrusted to Mumbai Crime Branch and a full and clear picture will emerge in their report that will be submitted before the court,” Chidambaram said.

“A lot of work is under progress and evidence has been gathered and various aspects would be checked after which full picture will be drawn,” he added.

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“There are speculations and I have read reports linking the terror attacks to Dawood Ibrahim and have taken note of it but cannot comment on it,” Chidambaram said.

This attack will trigger a change in the attitude of both the Central and state governments towards terror and combating terrorism, Chidambaram said and added that the government will go into the causes of security lapses.

“The need of the hour is a fundamental change and a change in our attitude towards law. The country also needs a hightened sense of alertness,” he said.

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“Terrorists chose Mumbai, famously known as the city of dreams to make maximum impact across the world. The attack is not only on the city but is a challenge to the soul of the country,” he said.

“The Maharashtra Government has announced compensation packages for the kin of the deceased and injured persons in the terror attack and I have requested the home secretary to implement those packages before December 31,” Chidambaram said.

He further said that he has asked the insurance companies to expedite the insurance claims of the kin of deceased and the injured persons promptly.

“I would request Mumbaikars to summon once again the spirit of Mumbai so that it rises as the premium city of the country,” the Home Minister said, adding that Mumbaikars have set an example in how to confront challenges on previous terror attacks.

Before arriving at the state police headquarters, Chidambaram visited terror affected places CST, Taj Hotel, Oberoi Hotel and J J Hospital, where several injured have been admitted.

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He offered condolences to the families of the 163 persons, including policemen, who lost their lives in the three-day long audacious terror strike.

Praising the security forces, he said the country should salute the work of the Maharashtra police, NSG and Marine Commandos.

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“Hundreds of lives were saved by the security personnel in which 18 of them laid down their lives and we should not forget the sacrifices made by them,” the Home Minister said.

“I know what the city means to the country. Mumbai is vibrant, emerging and forward where the poor and rich, less educated and the most talented persons’ dream. I have visited the city several times and have stayed at the Taj and Oberoi on these occasions,” he said. “We will go to the source of this terror and try to put an end to it,” the Home Minister added.

First published on: 05-12-2008 at 19:40 IST
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