Mumbai blasts: India files charges implicating Pakistan

Police in India filed charges on Thursday against 28 suspects over the Mumbai train blasts in July that killed 185 people, and alleged the attacks were linked to Pakistan’s spy agency and militant groups.

In thousands of pages of evidence handed over to a special court, the police charges claim that Pakistan’s intelligence agency and outlawed pro-Pakistan militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba were behind the blasts, which also injured more than 800 people.

“Our investigations reveal the role of Pakistan-backed terrorism, which we aim to prove before the court,” KP Raghuvanshi, head of the police anti-terrorism squad in Mumbai, told the media.

He said that of the 28 accused, 13 have been arrested by the anti-terrorism squad and most of the suspects had links to Pakistan, including the alleged main conspirator Azam Cheema, whom they said is a Pakistani national.

Cheema was still at large, police said.

There was no immediate reaction to the charges of Pakistani links by the Indian federal government, which agreed in November to set up a three-member panel with Islamabad to consider counter-terrorism measures, including regular sharing of information.

The idea of such a panel was first agreed in Cuba in September in talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in the wake of the serial train bombings in Mumbai.

India at the time alleged Pakistan’s spy agency had a role in the Mumbai attacks, a claim denied by Islamabad.

On Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign minister, on a private visit to India to attend a wedding, said the anti-terror panel would work successfully only if both countries cooperated with each other rather than trading accusations.

“When Pakistan cooperated with Britain and prevented airliner accidents, it did not happen through newspapers, it happened through cooperation,” Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri told reporters.

Kasuri said in the case of Britain, a plot by terrorists uncovered in August to detonate liquid explosives on planes flying from Britain to the United States was foiled with more than a dozen arrests in the United Kingdom, thanks to intelligence tip-offs from Pakistan.

Kasuri met with his counterpart Pranab Mukherjee during the visit and the two agreed on Monday to meet in Islamabad early next year for “substantive talks” on the nuclear-armed rivals’ peace process.

The India-Pakistan peace process was put back on track after foreign secretary level talks in New Delhi this month during which the two sides agreed to set up the new anti-terror panel.

India had put on hold the nearly three-year-old talks in the face of public outrage over July’s deadly attacks on Mumbai’s commuter network.

New Delhi accuses Islamabad of militarily backing Islamic militants waging an insurgency in disputed Kashmir and having a hand in blasts that have been triggered in other parts of India. Pakistan denies it arms or trains the militants.

The Kashmir dispute has been the trigger for two of the three wars between India and Pakistan since 1947.

More than 44 000 people have been killed since the beginning of the Islamic insurgency in the region in 1989.—AFP

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