The United States Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Program on Monday said it is offering a reward of up to USD5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of any individual who committed, conspired to commit, or aided or abetted the execution of the 2008 Mumbai attack.
The Trump Administration announced this major reward (of more than Rs 35 crores) on the 10th anniversary of the terror attack in which 10-Pakistan based LeT terrorist went on a shooting rampage in India’s financial hub killing 166 people, including six Americans.
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The move comes less than a fortnight after Vice President Mike Pence had a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Singapore, during which he is believed to have himself raised this issue and rued that even 10 years after the Mumbai terrorist attack its perpetrators have not been brought to justice.
From November 26 to 29, 2008, 10 terrorist associated with the LeT carried out a series of coordinated assaults against multiple targets in Mumbai, it said. "The United States is committed to working with our international partners to identify and bring to justice those responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attack," it said.
In April 2012, the Department of State announced reward offers for information that brings to justice LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, another senior LeT leader.
In December 2001, the Department of State designated LeT as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. This designation plays a critical role in the fight against terrorism and is an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business, the State Department said.
In May 2005, the United Nations (UN) 1267 Sanctions Committee added LeT to the Consolidated UN Security Council Sanctions List.
The State Department said that anyone with information on this incident can contact the Rewards for Justice office via the website, e-mail (email@example.com), phone (800-877-3927 in North America), or mail (Rewards for Justice, Washington, D.C., 20520-0303, USA).
Individuals may also contact the Regional Security Officer at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. "All information will be kept strictly confidential," it said.
The Rewards for Justice program is administered by the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service. Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid in excess of USD150 million to more than 100 people who provided actionable information that helped bring terrorists to justice or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide.
US calls for implementation of UNSC sanctons against 26/11 perpetrators (Read full story here)
Pompeo on Monday also called upon Pakistan and other nations to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against those responsible for the atrocity, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and its affiliates.
"It is an affront to the families of the victims that, after ten years, those who planned the Mumbai attack have still not been convicted for their involvement," Pompeo said in a statement. "We call upon all countries, particularly Pakistan, to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for this atrocity, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and its affiliates," Pompeo said.
The United States, Pompeo said, is committed to seeing that those responsible for the attack face justice.
"On behalf of the Government of the United States of America and all Americans, I express my solidarity with the people of India and the city of Mumbai on the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai terrorist attack," Pompeo said.
"We stand with the families and friends of the victims, whose loved ones were lost in this act of barbarism, including six American citizens. The barbarity of 26/11 shocked the entire world," said the top American diplomat.
(With inputs from PTI)