New Delhi: Describing the bomb blast outside Delhi High Court as 'a stark reminder' to not lower vigil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said there can be no justification for violence in the name of any ideology and called for addressing the cause of radicalisation of some youth.

“The problems of terrorism and leftwing extremism constitute two major challenges that our society and polity face today. The terrorist attack in Delhi last Wednesday is a stark reminder to us that there can be no let up in our vigilance,” Singh told the 15th National Integration Council (NIC) meeting here.

Read more: We need to improve intel gathering: PM

The NIC meet, happening after three years, is discussing measures to promote communal harmony, eliminate discrimination especially against minorities and Scheduled Tribes and ways in which the state and police should handle civil disturbances.

“We need to identify and address the causes of radicalisation of some of our youth,” he said, pointing out that lack of productive employment opportunities was one factor that aided such radicalisation.

He also listed out the social welfare schemes of the government such as the national rural employment guarantee programme; the land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation bill; rural health mission; Bharat Nirman projects; forest rights and right to education legislations as some of the measures to wean away young men and women from radical movements.

“Time and again, our nation has been subjected to terrorist violence. Terrorists seek to justify such violence based on misplaced sense of ideology. The institutions and instruments of our democratic polity allow sufficient opportunity for articulating differing points of view without recourse to violence,” the Prime Minister said.

He asked the NIC to unequivocally send out a message that pursuit of violence cannot be justified under any circumstances and reaffirm the nation's collective resolve to fight the menace in all its manifestations with all the means at its disposal.

“No civilised society can tolerate or endorse loss of innocent lives in the pursuit of any ideology,” he added.
 
Expressing 'great satisfaction' that inter-community relations in recent years have by and large remained harmonious, the prime minister said NIC members had played an active role in ensuring that people responded with maturity to developments that may otherwise flare up communal tempers.

“Nevertheless, we need to maintain a continuous vigil in this regard. We also need to recognise that members of the minority communities often have a perception of being unfairly targeted by law enforcement agencies in the aftermath of unfortunate incidents,” he said.

PM on law enforcement

On the law enforcement front, he said there must be a continuous upgrade and strengthening of the investigating agencies and intelligence gathering apparatus to deal more effectively with newer methods and technologies that the terrorists and Maoists adopt.

“In the last few years, we have tried hard to achieve this,” he said, listing out measures such as the National Intelligence Grid, called the NATGRID, being implemented to access all intelligence sources and analysis to identify actionable points.

Noting that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had begun investigating terrorist-related crimes in the right earnest, he said of the 29 cases handed over to the NIA, charge sheets were filed in 20 cases.

“Security from internal and external disturbances is a sine qua non for a nation state and steps to ensure this have always been accorded the highest priority in government. Security matters have been regularly reviewed and discussed jointly with state governments,” he said.

“We have also taken up security issues with our neighbours, and I am happy that some of our neighbours have extended cooperation, which has proved helpful in controlling violence in the northeast,” he said.

Shun bias in terror strike probes

Prime Minister said that law must take its own course but it was imperative that investigating agencies remained free of bias in probing terror strikes.

He noted that members of the minority community 'often have a perception of being unfairly targeted by law enforcement agencies in the aftermath of unfortunate incidents'. He also urged the media to be proactive in promoting peace and harmony.

“It is a matter of great satisfaction that in recent years relations among various communities have by and large remained harmonious,” he said. 'Members of this council have played an active role in ensuring that people respond with maturity to developments that may otherwise flare up communal tempers.'

He advised caution against any laxity: “We need to maintain a continuous vigil in this regard.”

Referring to recent handling of protests by the police in Delhi, including that of Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, he said, “In dealing with civil disturbances, we should keep in mind that excessive use of force often proves counter-productive.”

The Home Ministry, he said, has circulated instructions for dealing with crowds in a 'non-lethal manner' and urged Chief Ministers to ensure that these are followed by appropriately equipping and training police forces.

JPN/Agencies