Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday asked security forces to remain "scrupulously bipartisan" in probing terror cases so that people do not lose faith in the professionalism of investigative agencies and the secular nature of country's polity.
Referring to the four major terror incidents this year in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Bodhgaya and Patna, Singh said the disclosures made by the arrested members of the terrorist outfits confirm apprehensions that hinterland of the country remains an active area of operation for these outfits.
"Therefore, we need to ensure that our security apparatus and intelligence sharing platforms such as the Multi Agency Centre constantly hone their skills to stay ahead of the nefarious designs of these terrorist outfits," Singh said in his address to the country top police brass in New Delhi.
However, the PM cautioned that while dealing with terror cases, "care needs to be taken that security forces remain scrupulously bipartisan so that our people do not lose faith in the professionalism of investigative agencies and the secular nature of our polity." Referring to recent "volatile" situation at the border with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir which saw increased ceasefire violations and attempts to cross over by militants, Singh said resurgence of terrorist groups, particularly Lashkar-e-Taiba and increased infiltration attempts call for heightened vigil and coordination by our security forces.
"There is also a likelihood of attempts to disrupt the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. The security forces also need to be careful and measured in their response to militant attacks as well as law and order disturbances," he said on the concluding day of three-day conference of Directors General and Inspectors General of police being organised by Intelligence Bureau.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addresses the All India Conference of DGPs/IGPs at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)
Touching upon the issue of communal riots in the country, the Prime Minister said that during the current year some states witnessed a substantial increase in the number of communal incidents. Terming the communal clash in Muzaffarnagar and the adjoining districts of Western Uttar Pradesh in September as the "most worrisome", Singh said "it sounds like a cliche but is necessary to say that we simply cannot afford such a state of affairs to continue.
"Our law and order agencies must, therefore, ensure that trivial or local issues are not exploited by vested interests to flame communal passions. And once disturbances occur they must be tackled with the utmost firmness and speed, without prejudice, fear or favour," he said.
The Prime Minister asked the police chiefs to ensure that their forces act in the required manner in preventing communal tensions and dealing with them once they do take place.
Singh also drew the attention of misuse of the social media and SMSes to fan violence during the recent disturbances in Muzaffarnagar, and also last year, when disinformation spread through these means contributed to a mass exodus of people belonging to the North-East from southern states like Karnataka.
"It is widely accepted that social media facilitates exchange of knowledge, information and ideas and can be used for constructive purposes. Therefore, in preventing its misuse, we need to find creative solutions which do not unreasonably curb the freedom of expression and the ease of communication that social media does provide," he said.
In a veiled reference to the news reports about snooping by the National Security Agency of the US, the Prime Minister said, "I think there is a vast scope for improvement in our present capabilities in this area (cyber security).
"Apart from finding technological solutions, we must also concentrate on designing our processes in a manner such that our vulnerability to cyber attacks is minimised."
Read: Northeast situation cause for concern: PM
The Prime Minister also drew attention towards growing challenges of policing in metropolitan areas in view of rapid urbanisation being witnessed in the past few decades which will further accelerate in the future. "Factors like the anonymity offered in the urban landscape, individualistic lifestyles and floating populations make the detection of metropolitan crimes difficult and, therefore, we need special techniques to tackle this growing menace," he said and emphasised on community policing which helps in the prevention and detection of crimes.
"I urge you to intensify efforts towards promoting and institutionalising community policing initiatives," he said.
On the Left wing extremism, he complimented the security forces for successful completion of polls in Chhattisgarh and said "the high voting percentage that was witnessed in these areas clearly underlines the faith of the local population in processes of our functioning democracy.
"We have also witnessed a declining trend of Naxal violence over the last few years. This is a result of the combined efforts of the central and state governments and is a really encouraging development. It is important that we don't let up on our efforts to root out the menace of Naxalism and continue to build on our successes," he said and called for sensitising security forces before their deployment in local areas.
The Prime Minister made it clear that normal lives of local population should not be disturbed during any anti-Naxal operation.
The security situation in the North-East continues to remain complex, with insurgency, extortion and agitations being the main disruptive elements, he said, adding that persistent efforts on part of the government have resulted in considerable progress in the dialogue with insurgent and ethnic separatist groups.
The susceptibility of Lower Assam areas and Karbi Anglong region of the State to ethnic and communal tensions, the growing mistrust between tribals and non-tribals in Bodo areas, the Garo insurgency in Meghalaya, the increasing targeting of non-Manipuris in Manipur are also areas of considerable concern, he said. "We need to tackle all these issues with collective resolve and firm determination," he added.