Government plans to deal with ethnic targeting firmly

March 19th, 2008 - 6:14 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) The government Wednesday said it would “deal firmly” with attempts of selective targeting of a particular section of people in some parts of the country even as the Lok Sabha condemned “unequivocally” the killing of 14 Hindi-speaking workers in Manipur. “We feel selective targeting is a matter of grave concern. We will not sit idly. We will deal with it firmly,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said in the Lok Sabha.

As the MPs cutting across the party lines condemned the killings in Manipur and demanded stern action against the culprits, Dasmunsi said: “I will convey the MPs’ anguish directly to the prime minister (Manmohan Singh).”

However, he added: “We are one in the house on how to deal with terrorism. We have to fight against such acts collectively.”

In a series of ethnically motivated strikes, 14 Hindi-speaking workers were killed in Manipur Tuesday.

The MPs belonging to various parties asked the central government to intervene and contain the increasing incidents of attacks against people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in other parts of the country.

Janata Dal-United MP Prabhunath Singh went to the extent of demanding the resignation of Home Minister Shivraj Patil over the issue.

Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Samajwadi Party’s Ramjilal Suman alleged the bodies of the victims had a slip on them saying “go back to your place”.

“Hindi-speaking people are targeted in Assam and in Maharashtra. It is a very sad state of affairs. People are divided in the name of religion, region and language they speak,” he said.

Pointing out that the people of Bihar have been targeted in many parts of the country, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) - an ally of the Congress in the United Progressive Alliance - sought the central government’s intervention to stop such incidents.

Yadav and Communist Party of India (CPI)’s Gurudas Dasgupta demanded that there should be an all-party meeting on the issue. Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MP Mohammed Salim wanted the central government to protect the citizens’ right to work anywhere in the country.

Nikhil Kumar (Congress), P.C. Thomas (Kerala Congress-Joseph), Brij Kishore Tripathy (Biju Janata Dal), Ranjeeta Ranjan (independent) and Ramesh Dubey (Bahujan Samaj Party) also echoed the same feelings.

However, Dubey’s attempts to blame the Congress for the troubles faced by the Hindi-speaking people irked the ruling party MPs, who asked Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal to expunge such remarks.

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