Zero tolerance for terrorism: govt

New Delhi, Sep 27 | Updated: Sep 29 2008, 04:00am hrs
In the wake of blast in Mehrauli, the government on Saturday said there has to be zero tolerance for terrorism and asserted that it is taking stern measures to bring the culprits behind the explosion to book. Soon after the blast, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, who chairs Cabinet meetings in the absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, held deliberations with the home minister Shivraj Patil on the situation. I condemn in strongest terms this barbaric act of violence leading to the loss of an innocent life, Mukherjee said after the meeting. There has to be zero tolerance for such acts of terror, he said.

Home minister Shivraj Patil reviewed the situation with top officials of his ministry and extended all assistance to the Delhi Police Commissioner to deal with the incident. Patil spoke to senior officials, including home secretary Madhukar Gupta, who in turn was in constant touch with the Delhi Police chief.

Gupta also spoke to AIIMS authorities to find out the condition of the injured, a home ministry spokesman said.

The blast took place in a market in Mehrauli, close to the historic Qutub Minar. Exactly a fortnight ago, the capital was rocked by five near simultaneous blasts in which 24 people were killed. The home secretary later told reporters that it was too early to jump into any conclusion to who could be behind the incident.

I am not going to speculate as the investigation is on, he said when asked if he saw any similarity between Saturdays incident and September 13 serial blasts in Delhi.Gupta said the boy who died was perhaps the same person who picked up the tiffin box in which the bomb was kept by the two persons who came in a motorcycle.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi too, expressed shock on the terror attack in the flower market in Mehrauli and called for immediate action to bring the culprits to book. Congress president expresses shock and desires that immediate action should be taken to nab the culprits with firmness, a party release said, and added that she, condemns the terrorist attack and reassures the nation that everything shall be done to root out terrorism from India, it added. The Congress president also urged the Delhi administration to remain vigilant against such a dastardly and gruesome act of terrorism.

Vice President Hamid Ansari condemned the Delhi blast as a mindless and reprehensible act which was intended to disturb peace and impede the progress of the nation. Ansari expressed deep anguish that the blast had caused fatalities and casualties among innocent people, especially children. The Vice-President also expressed his sympathies for the families of the dead and injured and appealed to all sections of the society to maintain calm.

Meanwhile, the BJP on Saturday demanded the resignation of home minister Shivraj Patil saying he has no right to be in office in the wake of continuing terror attacks in the country. V K Malhotra, BJPs chief ministerial candidate for Delhi who visited the blast site in south Delhis Mehrauli, also demanded convening of an early session of Parliament to discuss the security scenario in the country. Attacking Patil, the BJP leader said, instead of changing his clothes thrice, he should have taken actions like discussing the matter with the public. Instead of doing all that, money is being collected for terrorists, demonstrations are being held for them.

He said the security scenario has worsened and now terrorists do not have any fear in carrying out strikes in the country.