- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 12, 2006

BOMBAY — The prime minister praised this wounded city for its strength yesterday, vowing that “no one can make India kneel,” while a senior investigator said the Bombay train attacks that killed at least 200 persons could be linked to a Kashmiri militant group.

A foreign ministry official demanded that Pakistan dismantle all terrorist networks on land it controls — but fell short of directly accusing India’s nuclear-armed rival in the attacks.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh highlighted the achievements of this city of 16 million, which staggered back to life despite attacks on the commuter train network Tuesday.

“Your resilience and resolve will triumph over the evil designs of the merchants of death and destruction,” Mr. Singh said in a televised speech. “Let me say again, no one can make India kneel. No one can come in the path of our progress.”

Eight bombs ripped through packed trains at rush hour, stunning a city that sees itself as the embodiment of India’s global ambitions, where the country’s business community and entertainment world come together. The number of dead has risen steadily as rescuers found more bodies and victims succumbed to injuries.

Investigators picked through the mangled ruins of train cars, placing evidence in blue plastic bags beneath an overcast monsoon sky.

“We are just trying to establish what kind of explosives were used and where exactly the bombs were placed, but it appears they were kept in the luggage racks,” said police inspector Yeshwant Patil.

P.S. Pasricha, director general of police for Maharashtra state, earlier dismissed Indian press reports that the powerful explosive RDX was used in the attack, saying investigators were awaiting the results of forensic tests.

Mr. Pasricha said investigators were exploring a link with Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Kashmiri militant group that has denied involvement in the attack.

Lashkar has carried out such near-simultaneous explosions, according to Indian authorities, who blamed the group for bombings in New Delhi that killed about 60 people last year.

Other Indian officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry was just beginning, said it was too early to accuse a specific group.

A spokesman for Lashkar, Abdullah Ghaznavi, denied the group was involved, saying, “Indian security forces blame Lashkar in an attempt to defame Kashmir freedom struggle.”

Late yesterday, R.R. Patil, deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, said 200 persons had died. Officials said more than 700 people were wounded.

The stock market rose 3 percent yesterday. Although morning trains were far less crowded than usual, the rail network was increasingly jammed as the hours passed.

“It’s not like a normal day yet,” said Farhan Khan, a 17-year-old student waiting for a train at Bandra station, near the site of one blast. “But wait until the end of the week, then it’ll be just like every day. … This is a strong city.”

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