India has again said that the 2008 Mumbai attacks could not have been carried out without “state support,” accusing longtime rival Pakistan of helping to coordinate the siege on India’s financial hub.
Indian authorities arrested Indian-born Sayed Zabiuddin, who goes by Abu Hamza and Abu Jindal, on June 21 on suspicion of helping plan the attacks that killed 166 people in Mumbai. Zabiuddin is reportedly a member of the Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is blamed for the attacks.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi Friday that during his interrogation, Zabiuddin confessed that he trained the attackers from a “control room” in Pakistan.
Chidambaram said he thinks “such a control room could not have been established without some kind of state support.” He also said Indian authorities believe the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed, was present in the room at the time.
The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the conviction of Saeed, who often addresses public anti-U.S. rallies in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik this week dismissed any Pakistani connection to the Mumbai attacks as Indian “propaganda” and encouraged New Delhi to share any information about Zabiuddin so Islamabad can take action. Malik emphasized that Zabiuddin was Indian-born and that the minister had warned Chidambaram in the past that home-grown extremism was spreading in India.
Indian authorities say Zabiuddin was based in Pakistan at the time of the attacks and issued instructions by telephone to the 10 gunmen who conducted the assault on luxury hotels, a Jewish center, and a busy train station in Mumbai in November of 2008.
Nine of the attackers were killed. A Mumbai court sentenced the lone surviving gunman to death for crimes including murder, waging war against India and terrorism.
India has resumed the peace process with Pakistan after suspending the dialogue following the attacks.
The nuclear-armed countries have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.
Indian analyst Batra Singh told VOA on Friday that he does not believe India’s recent allegations of Pakistani involvement in the Mumbai attacks will significantly affect the progress made in normalizing ties. He noted, “it will not affect the relations between the two countries. Kargal [war] was more serious than this one, but even then the two countries showed restraint. However the important thing is to find out who was involved at the state level in the Mumbai attack.”
Also Friday, Home Minister Chidambaram denied that an Indian man who was released this week after serving three decades in a Pakistani jail was a spy working for New Delhi.
Surjeet Singh was united with his family in India’s Punjab state on Thursday. A Pakistani court convicted Singh of espionage after his arrest in the 1980′s.