Fight against terror should not cause brutalisation of society: PM (Lead)

December 13th, 2008 - 4:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday cautioned that the fight against terrorism should not result in “brutalisation” of the society with any one community or section of society getting targeted.Addressing the International Conference of Jurists on “Terrorism, Rule of Law and Human Rights” here, Singh said that the terrorist strikes in India were aimed at weakening the “fabric of our nationhood”.

“The recent dastardly attack in Mumbai follows a pattern that has become all too familiar. There is an organised attempt by forces inimical to freedom and peace in our region to destroy Indian democracy by striking at the very roots of our nationhood.

“These terrorists seek to pit one community against another. There is a systematic effort to spread communal disharmony and conflict,” said Singh. Saturday also happens to be the seventh anniversary of the terror attack on the Indian parliament that almost sparked an India-Pakistan war.

“By weakening the fabric of our nationhood these terrorists seek to destroy our well-being and the foundation of our prosperity. There is a method to their madness,” he added.

Singh’s comments follow seething anger in the country in the aftermath of the brazen terror attack on Mumbai, the financial and entertainment capital of India, leaving over 170 people dead and over 300 injured. India has blamed Pakistani terrorist groups for the mayhem.

Stressing that the terrorists were posing a challenge to “liberal democracies” and “pursuit of secular ideals”, Singh asked the country to “stay united, stand united and act unitedly in the face of these grave challenges”.

“The fight against terrorism should not result in brutalization of our society. We must also ensure that no group or section of society gets targeted in our commitment to fight terrorism. What is required is flexibility,” Singh cautioned.

Singh termed the systematic terrorist attacks as “crimes against humanity” and also told the jurists from across the world that human rights and fight against terrorism are “not mutually exclusive”.

“There is an integral link between our defence of human rights, our defence of the rule of law and our fight against the forces of terrorism, extremism and intolerance,” emphasised Singh.

In the wake of the Mumbai terror attack Nov 26-29, in which citizens of several countries also lost their lives, Singh said that terrorism had become “a threat to peace and freedom everywhere” and “pose a challenge to democracy at home, to democracy in our region, to democracy around the world”.

After saying that there was a growing awareness “in our region … that terrorism and extremism pose a threat to democracy and development”, Singh said: “Governments and authorities in our region and elsewhere have therefore a moral duty to act firmly and quickly.”

He thanked the international community for expressing its solidarity with the people of India in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

The prime minister also dwelt on other terror attacks in India in recent times.

“The recent dastardly attack in Mumbai follows a pattern that has become all too familiar. There is an organised attempt by forces inimical to freedom and peace in our region to destroy Indian democracy by striking at the very roots of our nationhood.

“When cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Jaipur are targeted, the target is also India’s economic rise. When our economy is hurt, our people are hurt. Our democracy is hurt.”

He added: “The forces of terrorism, inspired by ideologies of hatred, intolerance and exclusion pose today a fundamental challenge to liberal democracies, pursuit of secular ideals, pluralism and all that we associate with freedom, the rule of law and human rights. They pose a challenge to democracy at home, to democracy in our region, to democracy around the world.”

The prime minister gave away awards to eminent jurists on the occasion. Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan and Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj were also present in the conference.

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