The Local Hand in the Mumbai Attack

Mr L K Advani, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, has demanded from the UPA government to conduct a judicial probe into the 26/11 Mumbai Attack. He pointed out that an operation of this scale could not be executed without the local support and hence it was only pertinent to make a detailed and impartial investigation into the whole incident so that all the aspect are sorted out and people are able to know the extent of the local links. He made this demand from the floor of the Parliament. Reacting on the Foreign Minister’s statement he recalled that a person called Fahim Ansari of Goregaon was detained in this connection who during the interrogation mentioned that the incident was well-planned in advance. One of his accomplices, Sabeehuddin Ahmad was also arrested in April 2008 which demonstrates that the planning for the operation had started almost a year ago. Mr Advani reiterated that such a sophisticated operation was not possible to be carried out with without local logistic support.

Mr Advani is the second person to raise the issue of ‘local link’. He was preceded by no less than a person than Mr Narendra Modi, the Gujarat chief minister who spoke about it during the party convention in Nagpur also reiterated that such operations could not be executed without local support. He wondered why such an important matter was being ignored by the UPA government. Congress immediately rubbished Advani's demand as "absurd" saying it was a "dangerous proposition" certain to help Pakistan. "This is an irresponsible statement and will be fodder to the rumour machine in Pakistan," Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told a media briefing. He also pointed that none of the two leaders were able to come up with any substantive proof to support their claims. Congress pointed out that the a judicial enquiry could not t be ordered in this case as another country which was involved in the incident was already conducting investigations and India’s stance could hamper those investigations.

The Congress spokesman on the one hand maintained that raising such issues could weaken the government’s hand which was fighting a ‘battle’ and BJP should instead support government’s efforts। On the other hand Mr Singhvi conceded that the possibility of the local link could not be ruled out and that the police was already looking into this aspect. It will also be recalled that Pakistani circles, both official and unofficial, had earlier raised the matter of local links into Mumbai attack wondering how Pakistani elements could penetrate the Indian territorial waters, bring in arms and explosives in such large quantities, get access to five-star hotels and books rooms there. All this was difficult to happen without local support.

Exactly on the day Mr Advani made his statement in the Parliament the crime branch of the Mumbai police filed a 1809-page charge-sheet against the Indian Mujahedeen (IM) before a special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (Mcoca) Court. It mentions that IM had hatched a detailed plan to create terror all over the country through its network. Twelve of its alleged members were already indicted. It also says that the IM had links with the now banned SIMI and with militant outfits like LeT. The charge-sheet further disclosed that IM was in the process of setting up its base in Maharashtra.

There appears to be a connection of sorts between the statements of the Congress, Mr Advani & Mr Modi and the Mumbai police charge-sheet. Is the whole exercise just an endeavor to actually establish the ‘local hand’ theory?

Editor:Parvaz Rahmani, sehroza DAWAT, 22nd Feb09 translated by: Salma Nazir, Riyadh

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