PM, HM express concern over religious fundamentalism

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New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) Apparently exercising caution in referring to rightwing groups, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed concern over threats from various sources including religious fundamentalism while Home Minister P Chidambaram spoke about "new groups" that are suspected to be behind some terror attacks in recent years.

Addressing a conference of Chief Ministers on internal security both of them avoided any direct reference to right wing groups which have recently come under the scanner over thier alleged involvement in cases like Malegaon, Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts.

"...we all need to be conscious of the fact that serious challenges and threats -- primarily from left wing extremism, cross border terrorism, religious fundamentalism and ethinic violence -- still persist," Singh said in his inaugural address.

The Prime Minister said he was happy to note that the National Investigative Agency, created in the aftermath of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, has gained much ground "in unravelling the activities of new terror groups" besides unearthing the Fake Indian Currency Notes networks operating from across the borders.

The Home Minister, who was complimented by the Prime Minister for better internal security situation, said "there are a number of modules operating within the country; and new groups have raised their heads that are suspected to be behind some terrorist attacks that took place in recent years.

"We cannot shy away from naming these groups or exposing their designs. Whatever their religious affiliations, I have no hesitation in condemning every group that resorts to terror as a means of advancing dubious religious causes or fundamentalist goals.

"Our policy in this regard is clear: every terrorist and every terrorist group will be pursued and brought before the law and punished," Chidambaram said.

The Home Minister''s reference to saffron terror on an earlier occasion had created a controversy with BJP and RSS attacking him and some Congress leaders distancing the party from it.

Both the NIA and the CBI have made considerable progress in busting the terror networks being operated by members of the RSS and other small Hindu groups who are allegedly involved in bomb blasts at Malegaon in 2006 and the Samjhauta train blasts.

While listing the achivements of his ministry in maintaining the internal security of the country, there was a word of caution from Chidambaram.

"My biggest worry, however, is that we might slide into complacency and begin to think that ''God is in heaven, and all is well with the world," he said.

Stating that Pune and Varanasi should "jolt us out of complacency, the Home Minister added "...and the evidence that the NIA and CBI are discovering every day should serve as a wake-up call to the new sources of terror that threaten our security. .

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