Mon, Oct 02, 2006 - Page 5 News List

India to give Pakistan bomb plot evidence

AP , NEW DELHI

Members of the Indian Youth Congress Party burn the Pakistani flag in Amritsar, India, yesterday in response to allegations that Pakistan's Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence was behind the Mumbai bombings.

PHOTO: AP

India will give Islamabad evidence that Pakistan's spy agency planned the deadly July 11 Mumbai train bombings, India's top diplomat said yesterday.

Indian police alleged a day earlier that Pakistan's Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI, was behind the bombings that killed more than 200 people in Mumbai, India's economic and entertainment center.

Pakistan immediately denied the claims and demanded evidence.

The two neighboring countries, both nuclear-armed, are bitter rivals who have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947. They have been engaged in a fitful peace process in recent years.

"This [evidence] is something that we will certainly take up with the government of Pakistan," said India's new foreign secretary, Shiv Shankar Menon.

"We will judge them [Pakistan] not by their verbal actions, but what they actually do," said Menon, whose previous position was India's ambassador to Pakistan.

At a news conference on Saturday to announce the end of the probe into the bombings, Mumbai Police Commissioner A.N. Roy said the intensive investigation, which included questioning suspects drugged with "truth serum," revealed Pakistan's role.

"The conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan," Roy said. "The terror plot was ISI-sponsored and executed by Lashkar-e-Tayyaba operatives with help from the Students' Islamic Movement of India."

Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, or Army of the Pure, is a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group.

The Students' Islamic Movement of India has been banned.

Roy said 15 people, 11 of them Pakistanis, have so far been arrested in the investigation. Three Indian suspects are still on the run and a Pakistani bomber was killed in the blasts, he said.

Roy claimed that Pakistani intelligence agents began planning the attacks in March and later provided funding and training for the bombers in Pakistan's Bahawalpur town, a center of militant Muslim activity.

Pakistan dismissed the charge.

"We reject this allegation, and demand that India should provide us any evidence, if they have," Tariq Azim, minister of state for information, told reporters.

Top Indian government officials made no immediate comments.

The July 11 attack was India's deadliest in years.

Seven bombs ripped through a series of suburban commuter trains during the evening rush hour in Mumbai, killing at least 207 people and injuring 700 more.

Following the bombings, India called a halt to the often-stumbling two-year-old peace talks with the Islamic republic.

The talks tentatively resumed earlier this month.

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