India asks ‘who’ and ‘why’ a day after blasts rock Mumbai

July 14, 2011

By Ariel Zirulnick, Christian Science Monitor

A day after three blasts rocked Mumbai, killing at least 17 people and injuring 131, the Indian government says it has no leads on suspects and will refrain for now from assigning any blame. The possibility that the blasts were intended to derail upcoming IndiaPakistantalks has been floated in the media repeatedly, but officials have assiduously avoided acknowledging any suspicions they may have of a connection.

The three bombings in three different locations happened at rush hour on Wednesday in heavily congested areas of India’s commercial capital.

Home Minister P Chidambaram acknowledged that India lived in a “troubled neighborhood.” He said that Pakistan and Afghanistan are at the “epicenter” of terrorism and that the possibility the attacks had ties to Pakistan would be explored, according to the Hindustan Times.

“I do agree that the Indo-Pak talks will be held this month, in 10 days from now. We are not ruling out any angle. We will probe every angle,” he said. The Indian government so far insists that the talks will still happen, but Mr. Chidambaram noted that “India has made it clear time and again, an atmosphere free of violence is a necessity” for improving bilateral ties.

While the Mumbai blasts dominated the homepages of all the major Indian news sites and most featured stories exploring a Pakistan link, it received only wire agency coverage in The Dawn and The News International, two major English-language Pakistani newspapers.

An American official told The New York Times that the early signs point to India-based militants, not the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba that is suspected in the November 2008 attack on Mumbai.

Reactions in the Indian press hint at frustration and dismay about what seems to be an insurmountable problem. There have been five attacks on Mumbai in the past two decades, most recently the November 2008 attack.

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