Small incidents like this do happen, says Maharashtra home minister

November 29th, 2008 - 10:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 29 (IANS) Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil ruffled quite a few feathers Saturday when he said “small incidents like this do happen in big cities” while referring to the Mumbai terror attack.When asked at a press conference whether the terror strike was an intelligence failure, Patil said in Hindi: “Aisa nahi hai. Itne bade shahar mein chhota hadsa ho jata hai. To total failure nahi hai. (It is not like that. In big cities like this, small incidents do happen. It’s is not a total failure.)”

The death toll in the Mumbai strike, in which 10 prominent locations were targeted, has gone up to over 180.

Patil said: “There were 10 terrorists in all. Nine were killed, while one has been captured alive. They had been continuously getting instructions from abroad via satellite phones. Preliminary investigations revealed that the terrorists wanted to kill more than 5,000 people in the attack.”

The government authorities later tried to explain away his statement by attributing it to Patil’s poor knowledge of the Hindi language.

But Patil’s words drew flak from many quarters. Mumbai residents who saw him say this on television or were told about it by reporters pointed out the irony that politicians made such statements after being provided high security.

“I am shocked that politicians can make statements like this even as the attack has shaken the nation and made international news,” said Rupa Bhasin, a housewife here.

Sandeep Singh, a student, said: “Such politicians have no right to rule. They themselves move around with a posse of policemen and they think this is a minor incident. What does he mean by ‘minor incident’?”

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