Samjhauta blast to be probed by NIA: Chidambaram

Friday, July 30, 2010

NEW DELHI - The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will take over the probe into the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast, Home Minister P. Chidambaram announced Friday while also saying the government aimed to contain Maoist violence in three years through “security and development” efforts.

Presenting his ministry’s monthly report card for July, Chidambaram also said the government was ready to talk to different Kashmiri groups on the prevailing situation in the Valley.

Asked about the blast in Assam Friday which killed four paramilitary troopers, Chidambaram said the personnel were targeted while coming from an army training centre.

He said not all groups in Assam had come for talks and factions of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) had not joined the dialogue process.

Answering queries on the Maoist problem, Chidambaram said it had been there since the 1960s and there had been stages when it had grown and stages where it has been contained. He said a change of heart would ultimately have to come about among the Maoists.

“They have to give up that ideology. There is no place for it in parliamentary democracy,” he said, adding that the government’s “development side and security side” approach should be able to contain the problem substantially in three years.

“That is the goal,” he said.

Chidambaram said the NIA would take over investigations into the Samjhauta Express bombing as the case has not been cracked so far.

“NIA has been directed to take up the cases of Samjhauta Express and the (planned) attack on Deloitte Hyderabad,” Chidambaram said.

At least, 68 people were killed in bomb blasts on board the Samjhauta Express near Diwana railway station in Panipat, Haryana, Feb 18, 2007. The train links India and Pakistan.

Asked about the involvement of Hindu radical groups in the Samjhauta Express blast, he said it was difficult to answer as the case has not been solved. “That’s why we gave the case to NIA,” he said, adding that it will probe if those linked to the Mecca Masjid and Malegaon blasts had a role in the Samjhauta Express blast.

Chidambaram said the government was ready to talk to different Kashmiri groups on the prevailing situation in the valley as there is no harm “in meeting our own people.”

“I have been meeting those from different shades of opinion. Prime Minister Minister Manmohan Singh has said the government is ready to talk to different groups. What is the harm in meeting our own people?” he said.

Asked whether the writ of separatists was running in the Valley, Chidambaram said he did not agree. “May be in Srinagar or some other parts, they may be able to mobilise support and call bandhs.”

Answering a query on crimes in Delhi, Chidambaram said such incidents were part of urban life everywhere. “In a city with a population of 1.5 crore, there could be some crime. I am not condoning it. The question should be if we are making our police effective,” he said.

Chidambaram said talks between government interlocutor R.S. Pandey and National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) have resumed.

He also said the sixth round of talks on the demands of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha were held July 24.

The minister said P.C. Haldar, who is the interlocutor for talks with rebel groups like NDFB (PT), DHD (N), DHD (J) and UPDS in Assam and ANVC Meghalya, will also be the interlocutor for proposed talks with the ULFA.

He said that 375,957 pilgrims had visited the the Amarnath shrine in Kashmir till July 29 since the start of the yatra from July 1.

Regarding border management, he said 16.8 km of formation works and 0.88 km of surfacing work had been completed in July on the Indo-China border.

Filed under: Terrorism

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