Advani urges PM to firm up strategy to check ‘sea terror’


New Delhi : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Friday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to call a conference of chief ministers of states on the country’s western coastline to firm up strategy to deal with the new threat of “sea-borne terror”.

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Advani, who visited places targeted by terrorists in Mumbai Thursday, said: “I continue to hope that the government will even at this late stage of its tenure devise a robust and zero-tolerance response to terrorism.”

In a statement issued here late afternoon, Advani said he had told the media before he left for Mumbai that the terrorists were not home-grown; this had been proved true when the Maharashtra government officials told him they had used the sea-route.

“This reinforces what I told the media yesterday about the intelligence agencies’ energies being diverted to nail so-called Hindu terror, which evidently enabled the Mumbai attackers plot away undetected,” he said.

The fact that the attackers used the sea route to reach Mumbai strengthens “the government’s non-serious approach in this regard”.

“Official agencies had been warning the home ministry for some time about such a possibility, but the government did nothing to bolster the navy or the coast guard’s capacity to intercept the rogue boats,” Advani wondered.

As a result, he said, two mother ships reportedly dropped the Mumbai terrorists some 15 nautical miles from the Mumbai shoreline and they managed to reach their destination uninterrupted.

“It hardly bears reiterating that apart from strengthening and streamlining the intelligence network, the government needs to take whatever intelligence inputs it receives seriously and act on it,” Advani said.

Advani found it to be “a curious coincidence that starting with the attack on kar sevaks on board Sabarmati Express at Godhra on Feb 26, 2002, almost every major terror strike in India has happened on the 13th or 26th of the month”.

“This year alone, the Jaipur blast took place on May 13, Ahmedabad followed on July 26, Delhi on Sep 13 and now Mumbai on Nov 26.”

Contrary to Advani’s claims, the Godhra burning took place on Feb 27, 2002.

“It appears the terrorists have made it a pattern to strike on the 13th or 26th of every alternate month. I wonder whether we will have to resort to numerology rather than firm intelligence to anticipate terror attacks,” he said.

He praised the spirit of the security forces, including of Mumbai’s assistant commissioner of police Sadanand Date who joined the police action though posted elsewhere and suffered injuries.

Advani said: “It is this spirit of our security officials that gives me confidence that despite the government’s pussyfooting and its politically-motivated refusal to arm the security agencies with appropriately tough anti-terror laws, we shall overcome the terrorist challenge in the end.”