THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: India’s home minister said on Wednesday that a key suspect in the 2008 Mumbai attacks has provided information confirming Pakistani “state support” for the deadly assault.
Abu Hamza, also known as Sayed Zabiuddin, an Indian-born member of the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, was detained at Delhi international airport on June 21 when he arrived from the Middle East.
Indian police believe he was one of the handlers based in Karachi, who issued orders by telephone to 10 gunmen as they stormed two luxury hotels, a Jewish centre, a restaurant and a train station in Mumbai.
The November 2008 attacks, which India has blamed on Lashkar-e-Taiba, left 166 people dead and more than 300 wounded.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram, speaking to reporters in the southern state of Kerala, said police interrogation of Hamza had confirmed Indian accusations that Pakistani state actors were also involved.
“The argument that non-state actors were behind the massacre is no longer valid. He has confirmed that he was in the control room (and) this has confirmed our suspicion that there was some organised effort,” Chidambaram said.
“When I say, state actors, at the moment, I am not pointing my finger at any particular agency.
“But clearly there was state support or state actors’ support for the 26/11 massacre,” the home minister said.
Pakistan, which has firmly denied such allegations, has indicted seven people for their alleged role in the attacks. Their trial, which began in 2009, has been beset by delays.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik has denied any state support in the attacks.
“India’s speculative allegations against Pakistan have been proven incorrect on several occasions,” Malik told reporters on Wednesday.
The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the conviction of Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed who lives openly in Pakistan and is accused of masterminding the Mumbai attacks.