PM urges governments ‘in our region’ to act against terror

December 13th, 2008 - 3:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) In an apparent reference to Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Saturday that governments in South Asia “have a moral duty to act firmly and quickly” against terrorists. Addressing an international conference of jurists here, the prime minister said there was a growing awareness “in our region … that terrorism and extremism pose a threat to democracy and development.

“Governments and authorities in our region and elsewhere have therefore a moral duty to act firmly and quickly,” he added.

Reading out a prepared statement, Manmohan Singh thanked the international community for expressing its solidarity with the people of India in the wake of the horrible terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

“I have received phone calls and letters from numerous heads of state and government from all over the world and from our neighbourhood, assuring us that they stand with us in our fight against terrorism.”

The prime minister also dwelt on other terror attacks that have taken place 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.

“These terrorists seek to pit one community against another. There is a systematic effort to spread communal disharmony and conflict.

“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.

“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.”

Manmohan Singh said that terrorists were targeting the rule of law and regard for due process and respect for fundamental Human Rights, which he said constituted the very foundation of any modern civilised society.

“Terrorism anywhere is a threat to peace and freedom everywhere. This is an inevitable consequence of the increasing integration of global economy, polity and society.

“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.

“I believe therefore all peace-loving, democratic forces around the world have to join hands in the fight against all manifestations of extremism and intolerance.

“The threat of terrorism in this increasingly integrated world that we live in is not divisible. The fight against it is also not divisible. The defence of freedom and peace is also not divisible.”

The prime minister added that the people needed to be resolute, and yet careful in the fight against terrorism.

“We need to understand the relationship between human rights and the fight against terrorism. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive. They can and should go hand in hand…

“In certain circumstances, states are both entitled and obliged to take steps that seems to derogate from human rights principles… Certain rights and freedoms can be derogated from, but only to the extent necessary to meet the security threat.

“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.”

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