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Sole surviving suspect remanded in custody

Latest update : 2008-12-11

There is no "business as usual" in the wake of the attacks, said Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram as he announced security reforms. Meanwhile the only surviving suspect in the recent attacks has been remanded in custody.

AFP - India said Thursday that South Asia stood "in the eye of the storm of terror" as the surviving attacker from the bloody Mumbai siege was remanded in custody accused of making war on the country.
  
In a statement to parliament here, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram announced wide-reaching reforms to security laws and national infrastructure aimed at preventing future attacks by militants.
  
They include measures to fix intelligence lapses and "logistical weakness" that emerged during the 60-hour siege in which 172 people died, including nine gunmen.
  
Among the measures is one setting up 20 counter-insurgency and anti-terror schools for training commandos.
  
Chidambaram insisted that "the finger of suspicion unmistakeably points to the territory of our neighbour Pakistan," saying South Asia was "in the eye of the storm of terror."
  
"We cannot go back to business as usual," he added, appealing to Indians to be "brave and united."
  
The gunman, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman, faces charges including "making war against the country, murder, attempted murder and other charges under the arms and explosives act," Mumbai crime branch chief Rakesh Maria told AFP.
  
"We have remand up to 24th of December," Maria said.
  
Iman, identified by Indian authorities as a Pakistani national, was one of 10 heavily-armed Islamist militants who killed 163 people across the financial capital Mumbai, including at two luxury hotels and the main railway station.
  
He was arrested on the first evening of the attacks, which turned Mumbai into a battle zone between November 26 and 29.
  
According to police Iman, from the Pakistani province of Punjab, took part in the 20-minute killing spree at Mumbai's main railway station that left some 80 people dead.
  
Iman's location has not been officially declared by police but magistrates and court officials earlier Thursday visited the detention block of the Mumbai police headquarters for 15 minutes.
  
Indian officials say the militants were trained and sent by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) -- a Pakistan-based group regarded by some as a creation of Islamabad's military spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
  
Under intense international pressure, Pakistan launched a major operation last weekend against militant organisations in the country, raiding a camp in Kashmir run by a charity linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba and arresting 15 people.
  
Pakistani's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said authorities had arrested two senior LeT members -- Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah, both named in India as suspected planners of the Mumbai attacks.
  
Indian press has reported that Iman had revealed that Lakhvi selected and trained the ten attackers, who then set out from Karachi after scouting their targets on the Internet using mapping site Google Earth.
  
The United States said it still wanted Pakistan adopt a tougher stance on militant groups.
  
"What we are looking to see is if there's going to be a shift in Pakistan in how they deal with LeT," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.
  
"If it proves out, over time, that there is that shift, then that would be a good one, and something that we would welcome," she told reporters.
  
But the top US military chief applauded Islamabad's response following the Mumbai siege.
  
"They've moved pretty quickly with respect to these arrests, with respect to shutting down some of the camps, and all that, I think, is very positive," said chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, who visited India and Pakistan last week.
  
India warned after the attacks that it was keeping all options open in dealing with Pakistan.
  
Pakistan has rejected Indian demands that the suspects be extradited.
  
India and Pakistan -- both nuclear-armed -- have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 and nearly came to a fourth in 2001 after an attack on the Indian parliament that was also blamed on the LeT.

Date created : 2008-12-11

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