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Pakistan-based al-Qaeda affiliate demands repeal of militant’s death sentence
Question of the Day
The Harkat-ul-Jihadi terror group said in an email: “We owe the responsibility of today’s blasts at high court delhi …. our demand is that Afzal Guru’s death sentence should be repealed immediately else we would target major high courts & The Supreme Court of India.”
India’s Supreme Court different from High Court issued a death sentence for Afzal Guru, who hails from the disputed Kashmir region, which India controls, for his role in the attack on the Indian parliament in 2001. His petition for clemency is awaiting a decision by Indian President Pratibha Patil.
Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said in parliament soon after the blast that the perpetrators would be tracked down and brought to justice.
New Delhi police weathered media criticism after the blast because a small explosion occurred in the same place in May.
Indian media said no closed-circuit TV cameras were installed nearby and no metal detectors were at the site, where nearly 200 people were standing in a line for passes to enter the court premises.
“In the last few years, several measures have been taken to strengthen Delhi police. Despite the capacity that has been built and despite Delhi police remaining on high alert, the tragic incident occurred today,” the minister said.
He said the probe has been handed over to India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Ajai Sahni, a counterterrorism expert with the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management, said such attacks cannot be prevented without proper action by police.
“You cannot prevent [this] in the wider urban theater [if] you do not act on the ground and build nationwide capacity of the police force,” Mr. Sahni said.
“India is displaying a great deal of symbolism with [its] creation of higher anti-terror institutions but not doing anything on the ground where it is required most,” he added. “Database or CCTV cameras cannot prevent attacks. It is always possible to find a blind spot. The police force across the nation has to be made capable.”
By Michael P. Orsi
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