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Monday, April 26, 2010

Edition 16: A case gone too far

Even after a month and half, the investigation agencies are yet to declare any headway in the case. Contrary to it, there has been contradicting claims by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Maharashtra’s home minister R. R. Patil. On Friday, Patil said that in the last 365 days the State had received 349 alerts and none about Pune's German Bakery as a possible terror target. Responding to a question in the State Assembly, Patil said all precautions were taken in view of the alerts. However, there was no alert about the Bakery, but an alert only regarding the Chabad House near it, which was tightly guarded. This was in sharp contradiction to to a statement by Chidambaram, who said that centre had warned the state and local police about possible attack on German Bakery. The Maharashtra government would not hand over the German Bakery blast probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation as many as 18 Central agencies are currently investigating the case along with the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). Earlier in the week, Mr. Chidambaram said in Parliament that the February 13 blast in Pune was a “blot on our record” despite the Centre sharing enough intelligence about the terror threat. According to Chidambaram, “Enough information was shared with the Maharashtra police about specific targets in Pune. In turn, the Pune police on October 9, 2009, sent advisories to various establishments, which included German Bakery. Its manager Praveen Pant acknowledged the receipt of the police's letter. But the Bakery and some other establishments did not heed the warning. Again in December 2009, the advisory was reiterated.” In view of this claims and counter claims, one can not but agree with the statement by Girish Bapat, the member of Legislative Assembly. Bapat said in assembly that the city was in a state of unrest and insecurity as no one has been arrested. Lost in these exchange of words, the common citizen has got little beyond some minutes of confusion. Why is there clear word from a singly authority in the country? On one day, the blast is linked to one outfit, another day we are told the perpretrators of crime have been identified, another day we are told the case has been cracked and even before that statement stops resounding, someone comes up with a bold statement that the case will take some time to be solved. A senior government official said last week that home-grown Islamist militant group was responsible for bomb blast in the Indian city of Pune. The Indian Mujahedeen (IM), a shadowy movement that has claimed attacks in the past, has been identified as responsible for the blast that killed 16 people, including several foreigners, a government source told AFP. The bomb hidden in a bag in the German Bakery in Pune was the first major attack in India since the November 2008 assault on Mumbai. The blast left 17 people dead which included 3 foreigners. However, the authority seems not to ready to show concern for the doubts and apprehensions in the minds of millions of citizen. The attack left a scar on the image of Pune city which was on the progress path for the last decade or so. At the time when the city is fast turning into an Information Technology hub, none can afford to suffer such a blow. The multiple agencies notwithstanding, it is a sorry truth that none of the the major cases which had repercussions in the mind of people have progressed much. Just last week, Bombay High Court asked the Pune police to submit a report on the investigation in Deepak Mankar case. Mankar, a Congress corporator, was accused of threatening a senior citizen for selling his flat. More than six months after the case was registered, matter is still pending. In this scenario, how can the citizens of heave a sigh of relief? Can someone assure them that the countless people who think this land as one of the secure spots in India will be secure as always? What we want is a concrete assurance, not the mediocre government rhetoric!

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