BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that this week’s explosion outside the Delhi High Court served to remind everyone that the country urgently needed to boost its intelligence gathering abilities. He was addressing the 15th meeting of the National Integration Council (NIC) in the city.
“We must continuously upgrade and strengthen our investigating agencies and our intelligence gathering apparatus to deal more effectively with the newer methods and technologies” adopted by terrorists, the prime minister said.
Singh’s government has come under fire over India’s apparent inability to prevent bombings of high-profile targets in its cities, despite an overhaul of domestic security following the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The prime minister said his government had done much to bolster intelligence-sharing between state and central agencies and had strengthened coastal security, but admitted that “major challenges still remain.”
The remarks of the prime minister come three days after the blast, in which 13 people were killed. So far, there is no breakthrough in the probe – four emails claiming the responsibility for the blast have been received, but there are no clear leads.
As part of the investigation into Wednesday’s attack, police in Indian Kashmir detained a man suspected of sending an email claiming responsibility for the court bombing.
The unverified email, which said the Pakistan-based militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) was behind the blast, had been traced to a cybercafe in Kishtwar, near the Kashmiri city of Jammu.
Federal investigators have yet to confirm whether the email was indeed from HuJI. Another claim of responsibility, apparently from a home-grown militant outfit called Indian Mujahedeen, was sent to media on Thursday.
Wednesday’s bombing was the first major attack on Indian soil since triple blasts in Mumbai on July 13 killed 26 people. It has still not been established who carried out those bombings.
According to an official spokesman, the agenda for today’s NIC meeting includes “measures to curb communalism and communal violence and approach to the Communal Violence Bill”.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is chairing the meeting.
It will also discuss measures to promote communal harmony, eliminate discrimination especially against minorities and scheduled tribes, ways in which the state and police should handle civil disturbances and “how to curb radicalization of youth in the name of religion and caste”.
The last meeting of the NIC was held here Oct 13, 2008.
The NIC is headed by the Prime Minister and includes union ministers, leaders of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha, Chief Ministers of all the states and union territories which have legislatures, leaders of national political parties and regional political parties, chairpersons of national commissions, eminent public figures and representatives from media.
(with Inputs from IANS)