'Centre to provide healing touch to migrants'

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New Delhi, Mar 6: The government today assured the Rajya Sabha that those who had been uprooted during the recent attacks on migrants in parts of Maharashtra and Mumbai will be extended help to restart their lives.

''It is the responsibility of the state government and if they don't do it then we will intervene,'' Home Minister Shivraj Patil said while replying to a short duration discussion on incidents of violence against north Indians in Maharashtra in the Upper House.

''If somebody has lost his house or shops it shall be restored,'' Mr Patil assured. On the demand for sending a all party ''healing touch'' mission, Mr Patil said the state will be free to adopt their rehabilitation method.

The government had allowed discussions on Maharashtra situation although such debates were not allowed in similar circumstances in West Bengal, Orissa and Punjab, Mr Patil said. ''The centre does not want to escape responsibility,'' he said. Responding to demands for acting against state government, Mr Patil said action cannot be taken only against Maharashtra but it shall have to happen in all other cases.

He informed the House that 300 cases of substantive offences have been filed against 1,500 people. About 5,000 people were under preventive detentions. Mr Patil conceded that the situation had gone out of hand because of exaggerated reporting of events particularly by the electronic media.

''We expect them (media) to present facts in a responsible manner,'' Mr Patil said even as many members had said that it had created scare and flight of migrants. Stating that every citizen was free to live and work in any part of the country, Mr Patil said ''We are sad at whatever happened in Maharashtra. Such incidents should not happen again.

Earlier, responding to Mr Manohar Joshi (Shiv Sena) Mr patil said the Centre has no intention to bring Mumbai under central administration as demanded by some political parties.


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