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Indian PM: Stronger Anti-Terror Laws Needed to Combat Homegrown Militants

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says stronger anti-terror measures are needed to combat homegrown militants, following Saturday's deadly bombings in New Delhi.

India's government has blamed neighboring Pakistan for terrorist attacks on Indian soil in the past.  Mr. Singh Wednesday said the role of Pakistan-based terrorist groups must not be minimized, but the involvement of local elements in recent blasts adds a new dimension to the terrorist threat.

The prime minister made the comments to a meeting of Indian governors in the capital, New Delhi.

Mr. Singh also said a central agency should be set up to address what he called "vast gaps in intelligence" and to investigate terrorist attacks.

The remarks echo a government panel's recommendations Tuesday to combat growing militancy in India.

Prime Minister Singh's government decided to repeal the nation's controversial anti-terror law, the Prevention of Terrorism Act, or POTA, in 2004.  Activists and human rights groups argued that it was being used to unfairly target Muslims in the predominantly Hindu country.

At least 22 people were killed on Saturday, in a series of coordinated bomb attacks in busy marketplaces of the capital.  An Islamic militant group, Indian Mujahideen, claimed responsibility for the attacks, as well as a series of bombings in the western state of Gujarat in July. 

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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