Modi could have averted Ahmedabad blasts: Congress (Lead, Changing dateline)September 22nd, 2008 - 11:17 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi/Ahmedabad, Sep 22 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has emerged as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) anti-terror mascot, had failed to act on intelligence inputs ahead of the July 26 serial bombings in Ahmedabad, the Congress party said Monday. “Based on the interrogation of SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) leader Safdar Nagori, accused of plotting the May 13 Jaipur blasts and arrested in March, the central government had provided to Gujarat government an intelligence input in May warning of possible terror attacks in Ahmedabad,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari told reporters here.
“The report also included a list of 16 terrorists who were supposed to be hatching the terror plot. But the Modi government sat on the report and did not do anything,” he said.
“Can Modi reply why he did not act on the intelligence input? Had the Gujarat government acted in time, the blasts in Ahmedabad and New Delhi could have been averted,” he said.
“All the persons arrested by the Gujarat police for Ahmedabad blasts match the list of 16 provided by the central government a month before the blasts,” Tiwari added.
At least 56 people had been killed in the 22 blasts on the July 26 evening in Ahmedabad.
Modi has been the most vocal BJP leader in accusing the Congress-led central government of going soft on terrorism.
In Ahmedabad, Arjun Modhwadia, the chief spokesperson for the Gujarat unit of Congress, said the Indore police had given a copy of the 25-page statement of Nagori and Amir Parvez following their arrests on March 27 to the Gujarat government which clearly stated that SIMI was planning to bomb Jaipur, Ahmedabad and New Delhi.
Releasing the copies of the statement to the media, Modhwadia said that Nagori and Parvez had made their future plans clear in their statement.
He said the Modi government or the state CID Crime Branch had not taken the input seriously.
“Is it not strange that Modi goes to Mumbai and other places and talks of hunting down each one of the terrorists and killing them and yet fails to act upon such intelligence of far-reaching consequence?” Modhwadia asked.
For interrogating the two suspects in Indore police custody there was no need for the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Act (GCOCA) or the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), he added.
Modi had repeatedly blamed the rise in terrorist incidents on the Congress-led government’s move to repeal the POTA and refusal to give assent to the state act.
However, asked why the central government had failed to take note of the same intelligence input to prevent the Sep 13 Delhi blasts, Modhwadia had no answer.
Tiwari, emphasising the need to build a consensus in fight against terror, said: “We invite people to debate on certain points - communalisation of society, politicisation of terrorism, role of the central and state government to join hands in fight against terror and equality before the law - so that we work together in our fight against terror.”
Referring to attacks on churches in Karnataka and Orissa, Tiwari said: “The central government has already issued an advisory under Article 355 (of the constitution) to both the states and they should comply with it. Under no circumstances such acts can be tolerated.”
Meanwhile, a Congress delegation headed by senior leader M. Veerappa Moily that visited Bangalore submitted a report on the situation to party president Sonia Gandhi Monday.