New Delhi: Terming terrorism and Maoist violence as two major challenges facing the country, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the Delhi High Court blast was a stark reminder that there can be no let up in the vigil.

Singh said everyone must unequivocally send out a message that pursuit of violence cannot be justified under any circumstances and reaffirm the collective resolve to fight the menace of terrorism in all its forms with available means.

"The problems of terrorism and Left-wing 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," he said addressing the National Integration Council (NIC) meeting here.

The meeting was attended by senior Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, Leaders of Opposition in the Parliament, leaders of national and regional political parties among others.

"Time and again our nation has been subjected to terrorist violence. Terrorist seeks to justify such violence based on misplaced sense of ideology," he noted.

The Prime Minister said no civilised society can tolerate or endorse loss of innocent lives in the pursuit of any ideology and institutions and instruments of the country's democratic polity allow sufficient opportunity for articulating differing view without resorting to violence.

Singh stressed on the need to identify and address the causes of radicalisation of some of the country's youth.

"Very clearly, lack of productive employment opportunities for our young men and women is one factor which aids such radicalisation. Education and skill development opportunities have a major role to play in addressing this problem," he said.

Referring to steps being taken to strengthen security agencies, Singh said there was a need to continuously upgrade and strengthen investigating agencies and the intelligence gathering apparatus to deal more effectively with the newer methods and technologies that the terrorists and Naxals adopt.

Noting that government has tried hard to strengthen the country's security apparatus, he said, "The intelligence sharing mechanism under the Multi-Agency Centre has been bolstered and the National Intelligence Grid is being implemented so that intelligence from various sources can be accessed and analysed to identify actionable points".

The Prime Minister said the problem of Naxalism has a development dimension also and the Centre is making special efforts for development of backward areas, many of which are affected by Left-wing extremism.

Referring to civil disturbances, which is one of the agenda items of today's meeting, Singh said one should keep in mind that excessive use of force often proves counter- productive.

He urged the chief ministers to ensure that these are made operational by appropriately equipping and training the police forces.

Singh said it was a matter of great satisfaction that in recent years relations among various communities have by and large remained harmonious.

"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.

The Prime Minister said the NIC meeting provides a unique opportunity for exchange of views on issues of vital national importance.

The Prime Minister also praised members of NIC who have played an active role in ensuring that people respond with maturity to developments that may otherwise flare up communal tempers.

Anti-graft movement augurs well for nation: PM

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indirectly hailed social activist Anna Hazare's anti-graft movement, saying the 'active interest' of the people in the national debate against corruption augurs well for the country.

Addressing the National Integration Council (NIC) meet here, Singh said Indian democracy had struck deeper roots in recent years with the strengthening of local governance institutions and a more informed and active citizenry.

“The active interest displayed recently by the people in the national debate on corruption augurs well for the future of our country,” he said, but did not name Hazare or his movement directly.

His remarks come against the backdrop of a 13-day fast by Hazare at Ramlila Maidan here seeking a stronger Lokpal Bill in the Parliament.

(Agencies)