Places of worship under terror threat, admits minister

March 4th, 2008 - 8:15 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) The government has received “credible intelligence inputs” about terrorist threats to places of religious worship in the country, Minister of State for Home Affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal admitted in the Lok Sabha Tuesday. “There are credible intelligence inputs on possible terrorist attacks on various religious places in the country,” Jaiswal informed the house in a written reply to a question posed by V.K. Malhotra, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) deputy leader in the Lok Sabha.

“The complete details about such threats cannot be divulged in public interest,” Jaiswal added.

Terrorists have targeted religious places in the recent past. These include the attack on the Akshardham Temple in Gujarat in 2002, the makeshift temple in Ayodhya in July 2005, the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi in March 2006 and Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid in May 2007.

“Assistance is being provided by the union government for strengthening security arrangements through deployment of central police forces and extending financial aid as and when requested by the states and union territories,” Jaiswal assured the house.

The minister said that public order and police being state subjects, “providing security to religious sites and places and enhanced security inside the complex wherever needed is primarily the responsibility of the concerned state and union territory administration”.

“The ministry of home affairs, however, with a view to facilitating adequate protection to those religious places, in respect of which specific threat inputs may be available, also issues advisory for strengthening the security to the concerned state or union territory administration,” he said.

Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani on Monday, while responding to the motion of thanks on the president’s address to the joint session of parliament, sought a clarification from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the progress made to catch those behind the recent terrorist attacks across India.

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