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PM to north-east: India is your country, have no fear

Last updated on: August 17, 2012 14:37 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday sought to assure the people of the north-east that the country belongs to them as much as it does to any other citizen of the country.

Intervening during discussions on the recent clashes in Assam in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Dr Singh said: "What has happened in past few weeks is most reprehensible. I appeal to all the political parties to rise above the party lines and send a strong message loud and clear that our people are one. We committed to bring violence under control."

The Lok Sabha later unanimously passed a resolution to assured the people of the north-east and urged them to return to the states where they were either studying or working, as they would be protected.

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj recalled that a north-east student had asked her how the government would be in a position to protect them if they could not protected by police in Mumbai

Intervening during the debate, Dr Singh said: "Some members have expressed apprehensions that social websites are adding fuel to the fire. We are looking into this aspect and we would take action if we find someone has been sending messages to websites through SMS -- the main source of origin of rumours. It is difficult to trace I know but if we do get someone we will take strongest action against the guilty. I appeal to all those who have left various states to return to where they were working. The nation belongs to them," he said.

The prime minister added that the unity of the country must be preserved at all costs and that the guilty would be punished.

Making a statement after Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari suspended Question Hour to take up a discussion on the issue, Dr Singh said communal harmony, unity and integrity of the nation was at stake.

"Any miscreant fanning rumours should be brought to book. Whatever may have happened in Kokrajhar (in Assam) should not be used as an excuse to fan rumours," he said.

The government will create a feeling of security among people of north-east in any and every part of the country, he said.

"This country belongs to them as much as it belongs to others," said the PM.

"We must curb all elements who are out to create trouble on this sensitive issue," he said, adding that a message has to be sent out to all those who want to disturb peace in the country.

"Whatever may have happened in Kokrajhar (in Assam) should not be used as an excuse to fan rumours," he said.

"The north-eastern region of our country is a very sensitive region. But whatever may have happened in Kokrajhar and other areas should not be used as an occasion to fan rumours to create such an environment in other parts of our country that the people of north-east feel insecure," Dr Singh said.

He said it was the duty of everyone to create an atmosphere where rumour mongering will come to an end.

"If there are any miscreants, if there are people who are fanning these rumours, I think they should be brought to book," he said.

Dr Singh said he was in touch with the chief ministers of various states, who had assured him that "we will do our utmost to ensure that our friends, our children and our citizens from the north-east feel secure in any part and every part of our country."

"This country belongs to them as to any one of us, and therefore, as patriots, we must send out a message to all those who want to disturb peace and amity among various regions, among various communities, that this House stands unitedly in support of all the people of the north-east," he said.

"That we will work together to give them a feeling of security, that we will work together to curb and effectively control all the elements who are out to create trouble."

Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said a fear psychosis is being created among north-eastern people and it is a challenge.

"It is an onerous responsibility on each one of us to make sure that this panic situation, this rumour mongering, comes to an end," he said.

The central and state governments and all political parties should speak in one language and make sure that "this exodus stops immediately and those who have been misled go back, return to their place of work and study," he added.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi