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Mayawati set to woo Muslims
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
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September 21, 2008 17:33 IST

Already worried over her visibly depleting Muslim vote bank, Uttar Pradesh [Images] Chief Minister Mayawati [Images] is now ready to woo Muslims over the now enhanced anti-terror laws.

Sure enough, she has her eyes on the crucial Muslim vote that could turn the tide against her at the next geenral election in the country's most populous state.

"I wish to reassure all Muslims that no one will be allowed to target common Muslims in the name of terrorist hunt," Mayawati told a specially convened press conference at her official residence in Lucknow on Sunday.

"Dont try to blame the entire Muslim community for the act of some who should not be spared," was her diktat to the state cops.

"I have made it loud and clear to my officials that under no circumstances should innocent Muslims be harassed and that fake encounters will not be tolerated at any cost," she added, while issuing a stern warning, "anyone found implicating an innocent Muslim would be punished most severely."

However, with the obvious intent of not displaying any softness in dealing with terror, Mayawati made it a point to declare that she had convened a high-level meeting in Lucknow on Monday to chalk out a renewed strategy to get down to the root of terrorism.

Referring to the UP connections of key Delhi [Images] terror suspects involved in the recent serial blasts there, she expressed deep concern over the repeated emergence of certain parts of UP as a haven for terrorists.

Most of the Delhi blasts suspects hailed from Azamgarh district that was notorious for giving birth to several dreaded mafiosi including Abu Salem [Images].

"We must flush out the real terrorists if they are in the hiding anywhere in Uttar Pradesh," she pointed out.

Mayawati, however, sought to made it clear, "we are capable of eradicating terrorism completely from the  map of Uttar Pradesh, provided the Centre extends the desired support and cooperation to us."

But more than the Centre, she was out to blame her bete noire Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav [Images] for patronising terrorism and pro-terror activists.

"Samajwadi Party leader, including party MP Abu Azmi, had openly joined Maulana Ahmed Bukhari at a rally in Azamgarh  to protest against the arrest of Abu Basher whose involvement in the Ahmedabad [Images] blasts stood fully exposed," the UP chief minister said.

And training her guns on Mulayam Singh Yadav, she said, "My predecessor Mulayam Singh Yadav's government was responsible for fuelling terrorism and for deterioration in the state's law and order. "If the Samajwadi Party government had remained tough and nipped terror in the bud, UP would not have earned such a bad name as a home for many terrorists," she pointed out.

Patting her cops, she went on to give out a list of her government's achievements in nabbing those involved in major terrorist strikes in different parts of the state.

She even sought to credit the UP police with the arrest of Ahmedabad  blast suspect Abu Basher, when it was an open secret that it was entirely the work of the Gujarat cops.

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