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Declare LeT front a terrorist outfit: India to Security Council

By Lalit K. Jha, IANS,

United Nations : Talking tough in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, India Tuesday urged the UN Security Council to declare Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front of the Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), as a terrorist outfit.

During the course of a debate at the Security Council on terrorism, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed also asserted that the country, from where the terrorist attack originated and was planned, should take immediate steps to stop their operations.

“The Jamaat-ud-Dawa and other such organisations need to be proscribed internationally and effective sanctions imposed against them,” Ahamed told the 15-member Security Council, which held a debate on ‘Threats to international peace and security cause by terrorists’.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa is the public name of LeT, which was banned in 2002. India and the US have said that the LeT and its leaders were involved in the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

India in a letter Friday had formally asked the Security Council to declare Jamaat-ud-Dawa as a terrorist outfit. It also demanded that its leader Hafiz Mohammed Saeed be placed under the Security Council list of global terrorists. No other details of the letter was, however, immediately available.

The Nov 26 Mumbai terrorist attacks dominated the proceedings of this special meeting of the Security Council, wherein member nations not only condemned the heinous attack, but also underlined the need to bring those responsible for it to justice.

Ahamed said: “Their (terrorists) country of origin needs to take urgent steps to stop their functioning. A message must also go out that perpetrators of terrorist acts must be brought to book and not given sanctuaries in some states.”

India has maintained that the 10 terrorists who struck Mumbai had come from Pakistan.

Referring to the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which India tabled in 1996, the minister said this needs to be adopted immediately to provide a framework of international law against terrorism.

“This cannot be held hostage to definitions while terrorists continue to take innocent lives,” he said.

Without mentioning Pakistan in his speech, Ahamed said when actions of terrorist groups are used to serve the political interests of states, a deadly combination emerges.

“A terror machine is created. India has had experience of such machines which need to be eliminated. The nexus between state – or elements within the state – and terror outfits must be broken and groups or individuals that indoctrinate, organise, plan and finance terror have to be uprooted along with other measures,” he said.

Ahamed said the fight against terrorism demands effective international cooperation so that those who are responsible, wherever they may be, are brought to book.

The organisers, financers and logistic providers of these terrorist attacks have to be punished, he asserted. Those who give ideological and moral support to this evil phenomenon must also be brought to justice, he added.

Briefing the members of the Security Council about the terrorist attacks, Ahamed said a group of 10 terrorists from the global terrorist organisation LeT reached Mumbai in the evening of Nov 26.

“The group divided themselves into four smaller groups and proceeded to pre-selected targets which included a café, popular with Indian and foreign tourists, and two major hotels. Each terrorist was armed and equipped with AK rifles, pistols, grenades, explosives and communications.

“The terrorist attack was conducted like a commando operation indicating that the perpetrators had received professional training both generally as well as specifically regarding this attack itself,” he said.

The terrorists were indoctrinated with ruthlessness and barbarity – innocent passengers including women and children were indiscriminately sprayed with bullets at a busy railway station and public places, and hostages were taken in the hotels who were subsequently massacred, the minister noted.

It is significant that this was the first terrorist attack in India where foreigners were specifically segregated and targeted, he said. As many as 179 people including 26 foreigners lost their lives, while 296 people including 22 foreigners suffered injuries in the attack, which was designed to kill and maim as many people as possible, the minister said.

“Nine terrorists were killed in the action taken by our security forces while one of them was apprehended. His interrogation has revealed that they were trained in Pakistan and were launched from a ship from Karachi. They travelled into Indian waters, took control of an Indian boat, killing the crew. Thereafter, they came to Mumbai to cause mayhem and murder,” Ahamed said.