Left wing extremism needs firm handling : President

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New Delhi, Sep 17 (UNI) President Pratibha Patil today stressed the need for dispelling the myth that the entire Northeast is a disturbed region and called for building on the core strengths of these states and highlighting their positive developments.

In her concluding address at the two-day Governors' Conference, the President underlined the importance of finding a workable solution for states where insurgency had acquired near endemic proportions and said Left Wing extremism and related violence required careful and firm handling.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his address at the Conference, said his Government was considering a legislation to further strengthen the substantive anti-terrorism law.

He admitted that there were ''gaps in intelligence as indicated by the recent terror attacks in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Surat and Delhi'' and emphasised that these gaps needed to be ''overcome''.

''Greater emphasis will have to be given to intelligence--both by the Central Intelligence Bureau and the intelligence agencies in the States,'' he said and added that the strength of the civil police force also needed to be greatly augumented.

The President also expressed concern at the ''slack'' enforcement of laws for women's empowerment and called for changing mindsets for bringing about social awareness for gender equality.

''Women-specific and women-related programmes have been enunciated but often their implementation does not yield the expected benefits,'' she said.

She suggested setting of a Committee of Governors to recommend ways for creating a conducive atmosphere for making ''women feel proud of being women.'' The terms of reference of the Committee could center around bringing about a convergence in implementation by state governments of various schemes for women's development.

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