Terrorists have no religion: Manmohan

October 26th, 2008 - 2:40 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghOn Board Air India One, Oct 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday refuted charges that his government had not done enough to bridge the communal divide that was increasing especially in the wake of sectarian strife and riots breaking out in several states in recent months.“Let me say that I would urge the media and all thinking segments of our population not to link terror with any one particular religion. Terrorists have no religion, regardless of their religion we have to deal wholly and effectively with terrorism,” said Manmohan Singh addressing a press conference on his flight while returning from the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Beijing.

“We will handle it that way but let us not link terror to any particular community. This is not the way to solve any problem. If this is not handled properly it has serious divisive potential.”

The prime minister made a specific mention to this week’s arrests of alleged Hindu extremists by the Maharashtra police for the Malegaon blasts in 2007 and the Modasa explosion in Gujarat last month.

“I am very sorry that such a feeling exists. Those who have read the newspapers about Malegaon and others, I think, would consider that this is a one-sided view.

“Terrorism, whichever section indulges in this nefarious activity, has been prosecuted regardless of the community to which they belong.”

Manmohan Singh said the situation needed tactful handling and the rule of law should be followed.

One of the reasons why the Communal Violence Prevention Bill has not been passed, said Manmohan Singh, was because minority groups and some NGOs opposed parts of it and also because there was no consensus.

“This was legislation meant to apply some balm on the communal situation, but if minority communities say they were not satisfied, there is a delay and we have not been able to resolve these tensions.”

Talking about the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers (AFSPA), one of the electoral promises of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Manmohan Singh said it could not be revoked till the ground situation improved in many insurgency-hit states of the northeast.

“It is true that in the wake of the Manipur agitation, we had appointed a group, but quite honestly the situation in the northeast, the situation in Manipur… even the government of Manipur which has withdrawn the Armed Forces Special Powers Act being applied to Imphal - is also of the view that this cannot be done away with until the situation improves.

“We have problems in Jammu and Kashmir and problems in the northeast. Therefore, I cannot take these risks with the security of our country.”

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