New Delhi: Naming
leftwing extremism, cross-border terrorism and religious
fundamentalism as serious challenges facing the country, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday called for constant vigil and said
the government was willing to consider the aspirations of any
group if they genuinely desired peace.
"Serious challenges and threats primarily from leftwing extremism,
cross-border terrorism, religious fundamentalism and ethnic
violence still persist...We have to maintain constant vigil and
there should be no let up in our efforts in the fight against
terrorism and communal violence," Manmohan Singh said while
inaugurating the fourth chief ministers' conference on internal
"Indian constitution is remarkably flexible and capable of
accommodating a diverse range of aspirations. What is essential,
however, is a genuine desire for peace and willingness to tread
the path of oneness.
"It is the commitment of our government, if these two conditions
are met, we will respond in full measure in considering the
legitimate demands of various groups," he said.
The prime minister said 2010 had witnessed a decrease in the
number of violent incidents and casualties from leftwing
extremists compared to previous years, but casualties among
civilians due to Maoist violence had increased.
"Chhattisgarh, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand continue to be a
cause for concern in view of the number of violent incidents
there. In Orissa and Maharashtra too, the situation is serious. We
need to have a successful coordination of response and resources
between the central and state security forces," he said.
The prime minister said the government had devised an integrated
action plan with substantial funds for development of leftwing
extremism-affected areas, under which 60-select tribal and
backward districts of the country were chosen for implementation.
He said there was every reason for the country to be satisfied
with no incident of a flare-up being reported.
In particular, the "mature, respectful and dignified" response of
the people to the court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri
Masjid title suit in September last year provided reason to cheer,
"Tremendous restraint was shown by all sections of society after
the court judgment in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit.
The response was by and large mature, respectful and dignified."
Manmohan Singh said there was no major flare-up on the communal
front in 2010 and there was a steep fall in the number of terror
attacks too, except for the two strikes in Pune and Varanasi.
"While the intelligence agencies and security forces deserve full
credit, it is important to emphasise that we must maintain
constant vigil and there should be no let up in our efforts if we
are to succeed in our fight against terrorism and communal
violence," he said.
According to him, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which
witnessed violent protests last summer had improved vastly in the
last four months due to several measures taken by both the state
and the central governments.
However, the prime minister said it was unfortunate that despite
the restraint shown by the security forces during those protests,
several young lives had been lost.
"The summer of 2010 saw a troubled period in the state of Jammu
and Kashmir in the form of protests, particularly by stone-pelters.
This form of agitation generated a vicious cycle of violence. It
is very unfortunate and sad that despite tremendous restraint
shown by the security forces, many young people died and more than
1,500 security personnel were injured," he said.
"As we meet today, the situation in the valley has improved
following the visit of an all-party delegation to the state, the
subsequent announcement of the eight-point programme and a number
of positive measures jointly initiated by the central and state
governments. The team of interlocutors are also trying to reach
out to the various sections of people and holding a dialogue with
them," he added.
In view of the stone-pelting, the home ministry had prepared a
standard operating procedure to ensure non-lethal techniques are
adopted by the state and central security forces, which would be
shared with the chief ministers, Manmohan Singh said.
On the situation in the northeast, the prime minister said there
was visible change in the states, with violence at its lowest
levels in many years.