/ languages

Choisir langue


Police fight gunmen as PM promises "strongest possible measures" to tackle terror

Article published on the 2008-11-27 Latest update 2008-11-27 13:01 TU

Army personnel take position at the Gateway of India that stands in front of Taj Hotel(Photo: Reuters / Arko Datta)

Army personnel take position at the Gateway of India that stands in front of Taj Hotel
(Photo: Reuters / Arko Datta)

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised to get tough on terror, as police tried to clear gunmen from two luxury hotels and other locations in the commercial capital, Mumbai. Shots rang out from the Taj Mahal hotel, as Singh addressed the nation on television, and the owners said that 200 guests were trapped inside.

"We are not prepared to tolerate a situation where the safety of citizens can be compromised by terrorists," Singh said.

Declaring that it was evident that the group behind the attacks is based "outside the country", he warned "neighbours" not to help anti-India fighters. Indian officials believe that Pakistan and Bangladesh help Islamic armed groups that operate on its territory.

Singh promised that there would be "no loopholes for terrorists to escape the clutches of the law" and said the government will "strengthen police and intelligence authorities".

 "We will go after these individuals and organisations," he pledged.

Police say that nine of the attackers were arrested overnight.  They are reported to belong to a little-known organisation called the Deccan Mujahedeen.

Singh dubbed the attacks "a challenge to the nation’s security and integrity", adding, "I appeal to the people to maintain peace and harmony so that the enemies of our country will not succeed in their nefarious designs."

At least 101 people are reported dead, according to state officials, with many more injured. Hostages are being kept in the Trident-Oberoi hotel, which is now surrounded by armed police and commandos.

State officials say that there have been no negotiations with the attackers.