‘We are in the middle of war,’ says a shaken Raje

May 15th, 2008 - 8:08 pm ICT by admin  

By Anil Sharma
Jaipur, May 15 (IANS) “This is not a crime, we are in the middle of a war,” Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said Thursday as her government scaled down the number of dead in the horrific terrorist attack here to 61. Addressing her second press conference in as many days, Raje also sought a comprehensive anti-terrorist mechanism and a policy to deal with terror.

Looking still shaken in the aftermath of the Tuesday bombings in the heart of Jaipur, the chief minister said the mayhem was no ordinary crime.

“Crime takes place on a small scale,” she said, speaking in Hindi. “This is not a crime, we are in the middle of a war.”

Raje, however, said an email sent to a television channel showing a bag apparently stuffed with the bomb and placed on the carrier of a parked bicycle “seems to be a ploy to mislead us”.

Police have said that the bombs were concealed in bombs and placed on parked cycles at half a dozen crowded sites in Jaipur’s walled city. They exploded within a space of 15 minutes.

Raje said: “The picture shown in the email shows a bag placed on the back of the cycle. In that case, the cycle should have been destroyed from the back. But in Jaipur the cycle was destroyed from the front.”

Rajasthan Home Minister G.C. Kataria meanwhile told IANS that the number killed in the bombings was 61. He said the figure of 63 put out Wednesday was wrong because the authorities by mistake counted two bodies twice.

A total of 216 people were injured, many seriously.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief minister said Thursday that there were indeed nine blasts and not eight as she had announced Wednesday. A tenth bomb, also left on a bicycle and packed with a kilo of high velocity RDX explosives, was defused.

She said a curved projectile was used in all the bombs. “They were of very high intensity and had ball bearings to inflict maximum damage.”

She said a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Rajasthan Police was working in coordination with the National Security Guards (NSG) and the Intelligence Bureau to solve Jaipur’s first terror bombings.

“We have got some clues regarding the bicycles, and we have some other clues, but we will not to like to share them because it will hamper our investigations.”

“We need to strengthen the police, and it becomes very difficult to look on a world-wide scale. It is therefore very important that we share database with other states and central government.

“We are establishing a STF (Special Task Force) for tackling these kind of crimes, we are looking at models from other states.

“We require a strong law to tackle these people,” she added, referring to terrorists who have masterminded a string of devastating bomb attacks across the country over the past two years.

“A strong law will frighten them not to enter into these kinds of activities.”

She again mentioned that the Rajasthan Organised Crime Control Protection Bill had been pending for the past two years with the central government.

Raje said she wanted the suggestions from Girish Chandra Saxena, a former head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), implemented to improve the functioning of Indian intelligence agencies.

Among his important recommendations was that both the Intelligence Bureau and RAW should upgrade their personnel profile to meet the increasingly sophisticated means used by terrorists.

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