Tense night for PM as terror hits Mumbai

November 27th, 2008 - 1:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) It was a wakeful night of tension and worry for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who remained in a huddle with his close aides to assess information pouring in about the daring terror attack in the heart of Mumbai. The prime minister’s “war cabinet”, including National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, Intelligence Bureau Director P.C. Halder and Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, updated the prime minister through the night about the rapidly shifting developments in the city.

Right through the action-packed night, the prime minister was personally involved in all decisions taken, including sending 200 National Security Guard (NSG) commandos and about 500 army and navy personnel to Mumbai.

“He was obviously concerned that terrorists had struck at seven places in the city and had also managed to enter two luxury hotels,” said a home ministry official as terrorists continued to lay siege to the Taj Mahal and Palace Hotel and the Oberoi Trident Hotel.

With operations at both the five-star hotels carrying on till Thursday morning, the prime minister’s election rally in the capital was also cancelled.

Only on Sunday, Manmohan Singh had announced the formation of a task force to tackle terrorism and warned of the scale of the threat facing the country.

In his annual address to the country’s top police brass, the prime minister emphasised that the country could not afford to repeat of terror bombings anymore.

“I only wish to emphasise here that time is not on our side. We cannot afford a repetition of the kind of terrorist attacks that have recently taken place in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Guwahati and some other urban centres,” he said.

“Every time a terrorist attack takes place there is a public outcry over the failure of the government, accompanied by criticism of the police and the intelligence agencies. I am aware that many terrorist attacks have been prevented, thanks to the vigil of the police and intelligence agencies, but a single incident of reasonable magnitude causes repercussions, and calls into question the capability and the capacity of the government and its various agencies.”

Notwithstanding the scale of the operation and the degree of coordination involved in the terror attack in Mumbai which saw 101 people being killed and 250 injured, the Intelligence Bureau had no inputs of this attack that was planned and executed meticulously.

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