India’s interior minister resigned Sunday as the country blazed criticism against its political leaders and anger grew over intelligence failures leading up to the attacks on Mumbai, saying the government's bickering and ineptness makes them at least partly responsible. India announced Sunday that it has raised security at the border to "war level" following the attacks. (UPDATED)
Home Minister Shivraj Patil said he took "moral responsibility" for the assault by groups of heavily-armed militants which left nearly 200 people dead and transformed parts of Mumbai into a war zone for three days.
As commandos gunned down the last of the militants, TV channels were divided between covering the operations and an outpouring of venom against both the ruling Congress party-led coalition and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"These are the people who are responsible for the system," author and columnist Shoba De, a Mumbai resident, said on one talk show.
"The city would not have suffered the way it has had it not been for the complete and total abrogation of duty and the kind of negligence we've seen, the kind of indifference we've seen."
Federal Home Minister Shivraj Patil submitted his resignation to the prime minister on Sunday because of the attacks, the Congress party said, however his move may not be enough to satisfy critics.
"Our politicians fiddle as innocents die," the Times of India said in a front-page comment.
The Congress-party government was blamed for the loopholes that allowed the heavily armed Islamist attackers to come across the seas to land in Mumbai. Others decried the Hindu nationalist BJP for seeking electoral advantage.
National elections are due in May, and both sides of the political divide were seen using the Mumbai attacks for their own ends before state polls in Delhi on Saturday.
The BJP said in a full-page newspaper advertisement: "Brutal terror strikes at will. Weak government. Unwilling and incapable. Fight terror - Vote BJP."
Columnist Vir Sanghvi wrote in the Hindustan Times: "We are fed up of politicians who use terrorism as an excuse to win votes. We are fed up of their incompetence. As far as we're concerned, they are all the same."
INDIA ON SECURITY ALERT
India will increase security in the country and on its borders to a "war level" in the wake of the deadly Mumbai attacks, a government minister said on Sunday.
"Our intelligence will be increased to a war level, we are asking the state governments to increase security to a war level," Sriprakash Jaiswal, India's minister of state for home affairs, told Reuters in an interview.
India said on Sunday it had proof of a Pakistani link to the Mumbai attacks, while officials in Islamabad said it would move troops to the Indian border if tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals spilled over.
"They can say what they want, but we have no doubt that the terrorists had come from Pakistan," Jaiswal said.
With tensions escalating in South Asia, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari urged India not to "over-react" after Indian and U.S. officials suggested the gunmen could have been members of Lashkar-e-Taiba.
U.S. counter-terrorism officials told AFP evidence was emerging that Lashkar could have been behind the attacks, while Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said "elements in Pakistan" were responsible.
Around a dozen militants launched their assault on Wednesday evening when they split into groups and struck targets across Mumbai, including the main railway station and a hospital. Security forces regained control of the city 60 hours later when they killed the last three gunmen holed up with hostages inside the Taj Mahal hotel.
Lashkar, which is fighting Indian control of the disputed Kashmir region, was behind a deadly 2001 assault on the Indian parliament that pushed New Delhi and Islamabad to the brink of war. Indian media reported that the only surviving militant had identified all the Mumbai attackers as Pakistanis who had been trained by Lashkar.
Officials have said that at least 195 people had been killed and nearly 300 injured in the attacks.
About 30 foreigners were killed including nine Israelis, five Americans, two French, two Australians and two Canadians.
One senior state minister said the militants had enough ammunition to kill 5,000 people.