Terrorists have no religion: PM

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On Board Air India One, Oct 26 (UNI) Expressing his anguish over the efforts to link terror with a particular religion, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked all segments of public opinion and political parties to work together to see that this communal divide did not get widened.

''Terrorists have no religion, regardless of their religion we have to deal wholly and effectively with terrorism,'' he told newspersons on board his special aircraft on his way back home from his five-day tour of Japan and China late last night.

''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,'' he said, pointing out that it would have serious divisive potential if this was not handled properly.

''We cannot afford such a division,'' he said.

On the communal violence in the country, he said there was a feeling that action was taken against only one community.

''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.'' Asked why the UPA had not fulfilled the poll promise of passing a legislation against communal violence and withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Dr Singh said the government prepared a Bill on communal harmony and introduced in Parliament. But several minority groups came back and said this was not a legislation that was to their liking.

''Therefore, there was a lack of consensus. This was a legislation meant to apply some balm on the communal situation.

But if the minority communities say they were not satisfied, if NGOs said they were not very happy, so there is this delay and we have not been able to resolve these tensions.'' As far as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is concerned, he said even the government of Manipur was of the view that this could not be done away with until the situation improves.

Dr Singh said the government had appointed a group in the wake of the Manipur agitation. But quite honestly, the situation in the North East, the situation in Manipur, there was no situation warranting withdrawal of the special powers given to the Armed Forces.

''We have problems in Jammu and Kashmir, we have problems in the North East. Therefore, I cannot take these risks with the security of our country.'' UNI SH SBA BST0805

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