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Terrorists know no religion: PM
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November 25, 2006 14:46 IST

Speaking against the tendency to blame any community or religion for acts of terror by a few individuals, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Saturday asked leaders of all communities to ensure that 'fringe elements' are identified and isolated.

He also sought 'clear and purposive' response to threats posed by terrorism, extremism and insurgency in different parts of the country.

"No democratic government can tolerate the targeted killing of innocent people. While our government is willing to talk to any disaffected group prepared to abjure violence, it stands firmly committed to enforcing zero tolerance to terrorism within the framework of existing laws," he said.

Dr Singh was addressing a seminar on 'Law, Terrorism and Development' organised in connection with National Law Day.

"Terrorists have to be dealt with as terrorists per se," he said noting such elements had no religion or faith and do not belong to any community.

"No community or religion can and should be blamed for irresponsible and violent acts of a few individuals of that community or religion," he said.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Law Minister H R Bhardwaj and Attorney General Milon K Banerjee and a number of legal luminaries attended the day long seminar.

"I urge leaders of all communities to ensure that fringe elements seeking to disrupt our society are identified, isolated and, wherever possible, encouraged to join the national mainstream," Dr Singh said.

The prime minister said people of all communities, faiths, regions and religions want to live a life of peace, security, self-respect and dignity.

They recognised that the future prosperity and well being of the nation lies in maintaining peace and communal harmony in the country, he said.

To counter terrorism, he said, the government had taken many steps for improving intelligence collection system and intelligence sharing for enhancing capabilities and for better coordination between various agencies.

"We also need to use relevant provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to cut off flow of funds to terrorists," Dr Singh said, adding there was need to streamline investigation and prosecution machinery to apprehend culprits involved in acts of terror.

Emphasising the need to pursue investigation and prosecution of such cases in a professional and scientific manner, he said 'at the same time, in our attempts to deal with terrorism the police and security agencies should make every determined effort to ensure that innocent citizens are neither harmed nor subjected to undue harassment'.

Dr Singh said that the judiciary at different levels also has a vital role in ensuring that such cases were tried expeditiously and offenders were brought to justice without delay.

"Central and swift punishment is an effective deterrent to potential terrorists," he said.

Observing that terrorist groups have become more sophisticated, better networked and highly motivated, Dr Singh said their linkage with organised crime, like drug trafficking, gun running, counterfeit currency and money laundering was a matter of extreme concern.

"Terrorism has also emerged as one of the most serious threats to international peace. Terrorists do not believe in democracy and the rule of law," he said.

Apart from strong and sustained police action against anti-national and terrorist elements, civil society also has a major role to play in preventing terrorist activities and in fighting the ideologies of extremism, he said.

"Our aim is to forge a meaningful partnership to successfully meet the challenge posed by terrorism," he said.

Noting that he derived great satisfaction from the public reaction to terrorist incidents in the recent past and people stood firm and united against attempt to disturb communal harmony, Dr Singh said, "It is my strong belief that nothing can undermine India's resilience in the maintenance of peace and communal harmony."

Hoping that the deliberations of the seminar would help sensitise judiciary and legal fraternity to the need for efficient, speedy dispensation of justice, Dr Singh said, "This is an important means of fighting terrorism and promoting development."

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