November 14th, 2005
Indian Police: New Delhi Bombings Solved info
| Source:Associated Press |
NEW DELHI - Indian police said Sunday they made a major breakthrough in the investigation of the triple bombings in New Delhi last month that killed 60 people, arresting a Kashmiri militant leader they said planned and funded the attacks.
Tariq Ahmad Dar, a key member of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militant group, was arrested in the Indian
Kashmir city of Srinagar on Thursday and brought to New Delhi for questioning, Delhi police commissioner K.K. Paul said.
Dar has not been formally charged, but police obtained court permission to detain him for 14 days for further investigation to help catch at least four other suspects, including those who planted the bombs, Paul said.
"The identity of the bombers is more or less confirmed and we are searching for them," he said, adding that two are from Kashmir and the others are "foreign nationals."
Paul said it clear from the investigation and Dar's interrogation that Laskhar was behind the near-simultaneous Oct. 29 bombings in crowded markets on the eve of a major Hindu festival when thousands of people were doing last-minute shopping. In addition to the 60 dead, more than 200 people were injured.
"What he (Dar) has told us, and the details we have, there is sufficient evidence to prove the conspiracy," he said.
Paul said Dar is believed to be the "financier, coordinator, spokesperson and front man" of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, the most prominent militant group in Kashmir. He is alleged to have been in New Delhi between Oct. 4-6 to scout the locations where the bombs, made of RDX, were to be planted.
Dar works as a sales representative for a pharmaceutical company in Srinagar but had received a deposit in his bank account of nearly $11,000 from abroad a few days before the bombings, Paul said.
The authorities' assertion that the bombings were the handiwork of Lashkar — until now only hinted at — is likely to bolster Indian complaints that Pakistan is doing little to control Kashmiri militant groups based in its territory.
On Sunday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said "indications do suggest external linkages" in the bombings.
They occurred at a time when India and Pakistan were making significant progress in their peace efforts to end nearly six decades of enmity, largely centered around the Himalayan region of Kashmir that's divided unevenly between the two.
India holds the bigger portion where it is trying to control an Islamic separatist insurgency that has left more than 60,000 people dead since 1989. Militant groups such as Laskhar want either a Kashmiri merger with Pakistan or total independence.
Singh said "there has been a trust deficit" in the India-Pakistan relationship. "It is our obligation to convert that deficit into a surplus," he said, adding that the two countries have no choice but to make peace.
"We can choose friends but not our neighbors ... we have to do business with the government in power in our neighborhood. Therefore using harsh language is not the best way to promote dialogue or understanding," he said.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Sunday that peace talks with India were making progress, but core issues such as Kashmir remain contested.
"We are going step-by-step in confidence-building measures (with India)," Aziz said. Both prime ministers spoke in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where they were attending a regional summit.