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Indian Police Shoot Dead Two Suspected Islamic Militants in New Delhi

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Indian police have shot dead two suspected Islamic militants in a shootout in the Indian capital, days after the city was rocked by serial bomb blasts. At least one more militant has been arrested. As Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, police say one of the men killed was behind the blasts in Delhi.  

Police say the gun battle erupted when they carried out a raid in a crowded Muslim-dominated residential area in New Delhi Friday, based on a tip-off about suspects linked to last week's deadly bombings in the capital.   

A senior Delhi police official, Rajan Bhagat, says two suspected militants were killed after an exchange of gunfire lasting nearly an hour. One militant was captured, while two others fled. Two policemen were wounded in the shootout.    

"Two persons have died," he said. "A lot of firearms have been recovered from that place and an investigation is in progress. We are searching the place."

Police say one of the men who they shot dead had planned and executed the serial bomb attacks that killed more than 20 people in New Delhi. They say he also helped in carrying out bomb attacks in Ahmedabad and Jaipur - two other cities that have been hit by serial blasts in recent months.  A group called the Indian Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the serial blasts - the dead militant was one if its top leaders according to the police.  

The government and police have come under pressure in recent weeks to act against the militants behind the attacks.

On Thursday, the government announced a series of measures to strengthen security and surveillance to tackle the growing terror threat. These include deployment of thousands of additional policemen in New Delhi, and creating a new research wing in its intelligence agency.  

A security analyst at New Delhi's Center for Policy Research, Bharat Karnad, says these measures alone are unlikely to help tackle the threat of terror.   

"These are palliatives, its like a band aid, but what is the will behind upgrading your security organizations and so on?  If you look at sheer demographics and spread of the country, effective policing of terror is going to take a lot more efficiency on part of the government, far better intelligence, far better policing," Karnad said.  "Most of these things are missing, in part because even though we have experienced terror for the last 25-30 years, starting in Kashmir, we still have not evolved the institutional mechanisms to
deal with terror."

Since the bomb blasts hit major cities, the government has faced increasing criticism that it lacks an effective counter terror strategy.

 

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