Describing terrorism emanating from India’s immediate neighbourhood as a grave threat to democracy and development, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the countries in the region and elsewhere have a moral duty to act firmly and quickly.
“In our region, there is growing awareness that terrorism and extremism pose a threat to democracy and development. Governments and authorities in our region and elsewhere have a moral duty to act firmly and quickly,” Singh said on Saturday, inaugurating an international conference of jurists on terrorism, rule of law and human rights.
Although the PM did not mention Pakistan, the reference was apparent as two days ago he had said the international community had to be galvanised into dealing sternly and effectively with the epicentre of terrorism located in Pakistan.
Singh, who spoke after Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj spoke of a new anti-terror law, gave a broad hint in this regard. “Certain rights and freedoms can be derogated from, but only to the extent necessary to meet the security threat.” He, however, said the fight against terror should not result in “brutalisation” of society and targeting a group or a section. “What is required is flexibility… as the terrorists’ only aim is to pit one community against another and destroy our well-being and prosperity,” he said.
“We need to understand the relationship between human rights and the fight against terrorism. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive. They can go hand in hand. When in conflict, it is possible to resolve them.”
Singh said the attacks in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Jaipur followed a pattern that’s become familiar. “There is an organised attempt by forces inimical to freedom and peace in our region to destroy Indian democracy by striking at the roots of our nationhood, to spread communal disharmony and conflict… there is a method in their madness.”