April 2005 News

No political compromise with terror: Manmohan

15 April 2005
The Hindu
Vinay Kumar

New Delhi: It is the joint responsibility of the Governments of India and Pakistan and of the local authorities on both sides of the Line of Control to work together and provide full security cover to the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service, the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, said on Friday. Addressing a day-long conference of Chief Ministers on 'Internal Security and Law and Order' here, Dr. Singh said: 'Notwithstanding the recent dastardly attempt to disrupt the bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad by terrorist elements, the people of Jammu and Kashmir came out on the streets as one to welcome this gesture of reconciliation. I hope the terrorists and extremists in the region have grasped the mood of the people and will not try to disrupt this bus service again.' Highly-placed government officials told The Hindu that the proposal of joint security cover is likely to be formalised during talks between Dr. Singh and the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, over the weekend. The Prime Minister, who flagged off the bus service from Srinagar on April 7, described it as a service for 'peace and promotion of reconciliation.' 'Ready for dialogue' Dr. Singh asserted that violence and use of force could not win the rewards that insurgents and extremists were seeking. The Government would deal firmly with insurgency. 'However, we are willing to conduct an honest and meaningful dialogue with any group that abjures the path of violence and is willing to engage in a dialogue.' In a frank but firm tone, Dr. Singh said the challenge of terrorism must be faced squarely and resolutely by all shades of political opinion. 'There can be no political compromise with terror. No inch conceded. No compassion shown. The people of India have suffered a great deal at the hands of terrorists and our Government is resolute in its determination to wipe out this threat to a civilised and democratic way of life. There is no cause, root or branch, that can justify the killing of innocent people.' In his 30-minute address, he dwelt on two key themes: there was no place for violence and extremism of any kind in a democratic, rule-based society; and disaffection and alienation were a result of pent up grievances against economic and social deprivation. The Prime also referred to infiltration by extremists in Jammu and Kashmir, insurgency in North East and the naxalite threat in a dozen States. Tackling extremism Dr. Singh said inadequate employment opportunities, lack of access to resources, under developed agriculture, artificially depressed wages, geographical isolation, lack of land reforms could all impinge on growth of extremism. 'There may be other more complex issues like language, ethnicity, caste or religion or cultural rights. When genuine dissent becomes extremism, there can be no ambivalence about tackling it, even if it be only symptomatic,' he told the Chief Ministers and top police officials. For the first time, the Defence Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, also addressed the conference, organised by the Home Ministry.


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