New Delhi, Oct 13 (UNI) Concerned over the use of religion and ethnicity to stir divisiveness in some parts of the country, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asked Chief Ministers to pay special attention to winning hearts and minds of minorities and other disadvantaged groups.
Expressing satisfaction that the National Integration Council universally condemned the recent acts of communal strife and discord in Orissa, Karnataka and Assam, the Prime Minister said in his closing remarks that it was incumbent on the Central and state governemnts to act decisively and firmly when communal strife, ethnic violence and terror disturb peace and harmony.
The Prime Minister described terrorism as a ''major scourge'' and said ''There can be no compromise with terrorism and terrorists have to be dealt with firmly,'' he said. This challenge to the cohesiveness of the nation has to be met effectively but targeting of particular communities and profiling has to be avoided, he said and added that terrorists have no religion.
''What we are confronting today is a problem of dangerous proportions and need to act together, now and in future,'' he said and added that they need to be approached with vigour and unity of purpose by using better intelligence, investigations and improved governance.
Expressing pain over the recent tragic incidents in Orissa, Karnataka and Assam where clashes happened between Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Tribal groups, the Prime Minister said that an atmosphere of hatred and violence was being artificially generated.
''There are forces deliberately encouraging such tendencies and also spawning militant outfits who engage in irrational violence.
These need to be firmly dealt with,'' he said.
He also called for better understanding of the forces at work through better intelligence about such elements and improving investigation methods. He also stressed the need for strengthening the process of governance and maintaining the rule of law in a manner which brings hope and succour to the poor and needy people.
Pointing out that violence was permeating the society across the country, be it in the form of terrorist violence or in that by left wing extremism of communal violence, the Prime Minister said this mindless violence must be met with requisite amount of force.
But it must be ensured that this was tempered by reason and justice which is the normal order of governance.
The Prime Minister also expressed concern over the increasing fissiparous tendencies especially in Jammu and Kashmir and North East..... Eds pick up from para 1 of DI 17 POLITICS-NIC-PM TWO LAST NEW DELHI.
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