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India seeks to nail Pakistan on 26/11 with Hamza’s confession

New Delhi(IANS) India Wednesday sought to corner Pakistan over the Mumbai terror strike, saying the recently-arrested 26/11 suspect Abu Jindal Hamza’s confession proved the involvement of state players in the 2008 attacks and asked Islamabad to shed its “selective” approach to terror.

Meanwhile, a Delhi court declined Mumbai police’s plea for custody of Hamza, who is being interrogated by the national capital’s police after his arrest on landing at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport June 21.

In Delhi, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna asked Pakistan to shed its “selective” approach to terror and join hands with India in eliminating the scourge from the region. “Whenever there is a bilateral meeting, we have always focused on terrorism and terror-related issues. We have been impressing upon Pakistan to come out openly to declare war on terrorism, which should be across the board and not selective,” Krishna said.

“While Pakistan claims it is a victim of terror, they should join hands with India so that terror and terror-related issues can be eliminated,” he said, adding India hoped as always that Pakistan will fully cooperate with India in normalising relations.

Krishna was responding to a question on the revelations made by Abu Jindal Hamza, an Indian suspect who was living in Saudi Arabia on a Pakistani passport and was deported by the Arab nation earlier this month, about Pakistani state players’ role in the 26/11 mayhem.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters that there was involvement of “state actors” in the attacks. “We were tracking Jindal (Hamza) for over a year. His confession proves that there was support of state actors for 26/11 massacre,” Chidambaram told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

Chidambaram, who was in Kerala’s capital along with his cabinet colleagues Ambika Soni and Salman Khurshid as part of a group of ministers to take part in a media interaction, said: “…there was state support and there were state actors. At the moment we are not pointing fingers at anyone.”

He also said the world had appreciated the resolve and patience India showed while handling the 26/11 attack probe. The statements from the two senior Indian ministers come ahead of talks between Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani on July 4 and 5 in New Delhi, where the key issue of expediting justice for 26/11 victims will figure prominently. The issue has been brought back into renewed focus by Hamza’s arrest and his dramatic disclosures.

Hamza, 30, was a key handler of the 10 Pakistani terrorists, who sneaked into Mumbai on November 26, 2008, and carried out an audacious attack on innocent people at key locations in the megapolis, including the Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus, Taj Mahal hotel and Chhabad House.

He was reportedly one of the six people present at the ‘control room’ that the Lashkar-e-Taiba had set up in Karachi to direct the terrorists to their targets in Mumbai on that fateful day that claimed 166 lives.

Meanwhile, Delhi’s Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav WEdnesday dismissed Mumbai police’s application for Hamza’s custody. Yadav passed the order after Delhi Police opposed the plea, reasoning out that his interrogation under their custody is in progress. Hamza had been sent into Delhi Police’s custody by the court till July 5.

“Since the investigation by the Special Cell of Delhi Police, which has the custody of the accused, is in full swing, it would not be appropriate for this court to cut short his police custody and hand over his custody to Mumbai police,” Yadav said.

Soon after, Mumbai police moved a fresh plea seeking Hamza’s custody. The court has listed the matter for further hearing July 5.

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