Amid growing pressure on the Indian government to explain why it was unable to prevent the Mumbai attacks that killed at least 172 people, Indian home minister Shivraj Patil (photo) and national security adviser MK Narayanan have submitted their resignations.
It is not clear whether Mr Narayanan’s resignation has been accepted.
Following the attacks, tensions with Pakistan have increased after allegations the gunmen had Pakistani links.
Though Islamabad denies any involvement, India’s Deputy Home Minister, Shakeel Ahmad, told the BBC it was “very clearly established” that all the attackers were from Pakistan.
“Whether they had government backing or whether there was any official involvement in it – it will come to light after proper investigation”, Mr Ahmad said.
The home minister wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “owning moral responsibility” for the attacks, says the BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder, in Delhi, adding that his resignation has been accepted. BBC’s correspondent also says that more departures may follow.
An all party meeting set for Sunday evening is poised to discuss new anti-terror measures in India, such as new anti-terror laws, and the possible creation of new anti-terror agency.
On Sunday, hundreds of people took to the streets of Mumbai in order to protest at what they say were government failures in the face of the attacks.
The authorities should have been more prepared for the attacks, say protesters. They also question whether warnings were ignored, and the time it took commandos to reach the scenes of the attacks.
In the mean time, one of the first target of the attacks on Wednesday evening, Cafe Leopold, briefly reopened on Sunday. Its owner said it was a show of defiance to the “terrorists”.
When customers entered the cafe, staff wearing red polo shirts burst into applause and one man led a cheer of “God bless India”.
“We will prove to terrorists by opening that we have won, you have not won”, said Farhang Jehani, who owns and runs the cafe with his brother.
The last of the gunmen was killed by Indian troops on Saturday, at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel.
As few as 10 militants may have been involved in the assault which saw attacks in multiple locations including two hotels, a major railway station, a hospital and a Jewish centre.
Claim of responsibility
Though the vast majority victims were Indians, at least 22 foreigners are known to have died, including victims from Israel, the US, Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia, Italy, Singapore, Thailand, Great Britain and France.
On the night the killing began, some of the gunmen came ashore by a rubber dinghy, while others are reported to have been in the city for months gathering information on their targets.
The number of people killed remains unclear.
Although earlier disaster authorities said at least 195 people had been killed and 295 wounded, India’s home ministry said the official toll in Mumbai was 183 killed.
The state governor put the death toll for the bombings at 172 on Sunday morning, even though it could rise if more bodies are discovered in the search of the siege hotels.
A previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen, a reference to a mainly Muslim region of India, claimed responsibility for this week’s attacks.
A statement leaked to Indian newspapers, saying the one alleged militant captured alive, named as Azam Amir Qasab, indicated the Mumbai militants had received training from an Islamist group once backed by Pakistani intelligence, Lashkar-e-Toiba.
The group was banned from Pakistan in 2002, at US insistence.