Foreigners in India are safe: Chidambaram

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P Chidambaram
Mumbai, Jul 14: Foreigners were not the target of the Wednesday's blasts in Mumbai as the target was the "unity and prosperity" of India, Home Minister P Chidambaram said here today (Jul 14).

"Every foreigner in India is safe like every visitor to every country is safe. If incidents like this happen, let me assure you it is not targeted against any foreigner or tourist visiting India," Chidambaram told reporters here at a press conference.

"The target is India's unity, integrity and prosperity. There are elements that are hostile to India and they are behind the bomb blasts that have occurred over the last 10 years," he said.

"It has happened at some places and on last occasion some foreigners were present in the hotel therefore they lost their lives. But I don't think the target are foreigners...we had some respite in the last 31 months. But I want to assure you, none of these blasts are aimed at foreigners or visiting tourists," he said in reply to a question by a foreign journalist.

Union Home Ministry had officialy stated in its first bulletin last night that the death toll was 21.

"We are not ruling out any angle. We will probe (the involvement of) every terror group...The investigations into the attack will not start on pre-determined assumptions," he said at another point facing a volley of questions by newsmen after he chaired an emergency meeting to review the situation.

"Whoever perpetrated the attack has worked in a very callous manner. Maybe it's a very small group working in a clandestine manner," he said.

"I am confident that ... we will be able to zero in on the group that caused these bomb blasts," he added. He also made it clear that India will not be cowed down by the attacks.

"I want to assure everyone both in India and outside, that India will continue to work and grow and prosper," he said.

The Minister also assured that the blasts were not targetted against any foreigners or tourist visiting India.

"The target is India's unity, integrity and prosperity. There are elements that are hostile to India and they are behind the blasts that have occurred over the last 10 years. We had some respite in the last 31 months. But I want to assure you none of these blasts are aimed at foreigners or visiting tourists," he said in reply to a question by a foreign journalist.

Chidambaram said the bomb in the Dadar area was placed on a bus shelter; in the Opera House business area it was placed on the road and in the Jhaveri Bazaar jewellery market it was on a motorcycle.

"...The density of the population was quite mind boggling. I think they chose places where even a low intensity blast will have a great impact...There were inherent difficulties in policing densely populated areas," he said.

The attacks were the worst terror strike in the country since the Mumbai carnage that killed 166 people in November 2008.

Expressing "deep regret" to the people of Mumbai over the incident, he said the probe will not start on any "pre- determined assumptions" and will cover every terror group that has the capacity to carry out such strikes in the country.

PTI

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