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Terror a complex issue, not a question of law alone: PM

From Renu Mittal on Board PM's special Aircraft | September 24, 2008 02:27 IST

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Despite stiff resistance to a new law on terror from within his own Cabinet as well as the Congress party, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] once again reopened the option of bringing in such a law.

Hinting that the government's options were open on the new law, Dr Singh said, "We have not reached a conclusion yet. I have asked a group of officials to study the administrative reforms commission report and then we will decide." 

The ARC headed by Veerappa Moily had recently in its report recommended the need for a new law on terror, which incorporated some stringent provisions. This move was stiffly opposed both within the Congress as well as amongst his senior Cabinet colleagues, who felt that the draconian POTA-type law will only end up in alienating the minorities.

Dr Singh said terrorism was a complex issue and not a question of law alone. He said he had been reading up the British newspapers, which detailed how people were caught but never prosecuted. He said this aspect needs to be examined in detail.

On the issue of some states, particularly the BJP-ruled ones, demanding a new law on terror the prime minister did not appear to find favour with the move. He said he did not want to get into centre-state relations, 'but the Centre has a responsibility to assess and decide whether any laws are required or not. We are assessing the situation.'

Ever since the string of bomb blasts, there has been pressure on the government to come out with pro-active moves on terror and this is also being seen in the context of Jammu and Kashmir [Images] where elections are due and which would figure in Dr Singh's meeting with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.

When asked whether the government wanted elections in J&K to be held on schedule, the prime minister made it clear that the government would leave the decision to the Election Commission with the government offering no opinion on the timing of the poll.

When pressed, he lightly quipped, "Is there ever a right time to hold elections?"

The prime minister was non-committal on whether he would be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections saying he would cross the bridge when he came to it, but said that he would be campaigning in the assembly elections.






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