Mumbai terror attacks:President has sleepless night

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Hanoi, Nov 27 (UNI) The serial terror attacks in Mumbai have shaken President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, now miles away from India, and she could not get proper sleep the whole night.

According to sources close to the President, she made repeated queries about the situation in Mumbai and elsewhere in the country, specifically putting her Secretary on the job to keep her abreast of it.

Sources said the Presidential staff remained in touch with the Prime Minister's Office, Cabinet Secretary, Chief Secretary of Maharashtra to know about the incidents and the situation.

The last call they had made to them at 0300 hours (local time), about 1.30 hrs ahead of IST, when they were told 20 people had been killed and more than 100 injured.

The President again inquired about the situation this morning at around 0800 hrs (local time) before she was to leave for the Presidential Palace for the summit meeting.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh himself apprised her about the situation.

The impact of terrorism had its reflection in the one-on-one talks between Ms Patil and Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Minh Triet, who, condemning terrorism, expressed his sympathies to the President over the incident.

Extending full cooperation to India to curb terrorism to establish peace in the region, Mr Triet hoped that the situation in Mumbai would be normal soon.

Condemning the terrorist attacks strongly, the President said that mindless attacks was the work of those who had no regard for human lives, and were pursuing a path of destruction.

In a statement, she said she had been informed that some hostages were being held by terrorists even now, and the authorities were dealing with the situation.

She expressed the hope that the perpetrators of attacks would soon be brought to book.

India and Vietnam have a strategic partnership in which they work together in many areas, including terrorism.

UNI KAS SKB BST1324

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