Amid growth of homegrown terror groups, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned about the dangers of terrorism becoming an "internal intruding problem" and said credible effective strategies needed to be devised to deal with such a challenge in a sensitive manner.
Addressing IPS probationers in New Delhi, Singh said terrorism coming from external sources was easy to deal with in some ways but the homegrown terrorism needed required sensitive handling. He said the growing problem the country faces is of terrorism "sometimes supported by forces outside our country but we must also recognise that today I think there are dangers that terrorism can become an internal intruding problem as well".
Contending that terrorism "driven by outside forces or sent to our country" was in some way "easy" to tackle, Singh said, however, that "if the terror modules are to be found in our country and some misguided elements of our society take to that path, I think we have to tackle this problem with all the sensitivity that it requires." This is one area which requires "very sensitive handling", he said asking the young police officers to devise "credible effective strategies to deal with this very sensitive issue". Singh was not specific but was apparently referring to the growth of terror incidents involving homegrown groups like Indian Mujahideen and SIMI.
Underlining the need for respecting human rights while dealing with terror-related cases, the PM said law and order enforcement machinery must use technologies and techniques which do not have recourse to third degree methods. "I think as citizens of our country, we must devise ways and means of conducting our inquiries by the police and other entities without use of third degree methods. We must respect the rights of our citizens", he said.
Singh said that until conviction, everybody should be regarded as innocent. "That's the basic philosophy of our system. These are some of the concerns that I have", he said. Along with terrorism, he identified Naxalism, communalism and management of law in metropolitan cities as immense challenges to the law and order machinery in all parts of the country.
"Questions are the same everywhere, answers must be location specific," he said. Talking about Naxalism, the PM said the people of tribal areas fall easy prey because of disaffection for which the root causes are social and economic.
Emphasising the need for "sensitivity" to recognise the root causes of the disaffection, he said Naxalism needed to be handled both as law and order problem and as a development problem. "Naxalism today afflicts central India where the bulk of India's mineral wealth lies and if we don't control Naxalism, we have to say goodbye to our country's ambitions to sustain growth rate of 10-11 per cent per annum" which is needed to get rid of poverty, ignorance and disease.
"What causes this disaffection? Why some elements of the tribal societies take to that path? They become an easy prey to the Naxalite propaganda", he said asking the police to have an in-depth study of the issue and devise strategies to deal with this menace.