Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has urged the Central government to extend all infrastructural and technological assistance to the State to check and combat Left extremists and communal fundamentalists.

Addressing a meeting of the National Integration Council, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in New Delhi on Monday, the Chief Minister said the State had confirmed intelligence reports of sighting Left extremists in forest areas adjoining Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu and reports of attempts to build bases in tribal hamlets of Kerala’s northern districts during the last couple of months.

“Kerala has been a relatively peaceful State in all respects and there have been no major incidents of communal or serious law and order problems in the State in the last several years. But extraneous elements, utilising issues which have nothing to do with the State or its people, do, at times, pose a threat to this tranquillity,” he said.

Social media

The Chief Minister said in his speech, distributed to the media here, that prevention of misuse of social networking media was a new area of focus. “Social networking sites are sometimes misused for ill-motivated propaganda and for organising agitations or riots. The government and police try to address the problem by using social network sites for promoting national integration and communal harmony.” There is need to monitor social media to prevent their misuse, without infringing on the fundamental rights of citizens.

Mr. Chandy said Kerala had been in the forefront of ensuring empowerment of women as well as their social and economic security. “The Government of Kerala has a very successful participative form of panchayati raj which ensures inclusive development planning and decision making, involving women and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which ensures that everybody gains from the development efforts of the government.

All support

“I would like to assure the Union Government of India of all support and whole-hearted cooperation in all steps initiated for the furtherance of this cause.”

He stressed that political parties should devote themselves to national interest rather than compartmentalising themselves with narrow-minded regional interest. “Secularism and communal harmony are the face of our tradition. The political parties should pledge that no scar is left on that. Any dispute among States should not be debated in such a way to generate hatred and rivalry between peoples of those States. There should be a platform for active discussion and conflict resolution rather than sensationalism. All political parties, State governments and democratic enthusiasts must be committed to this cause.”

The Chief Minister suggested that tolerance be inculcated in students. “We have a great culture and tradition of accommodating everyone’s views. Character and colour of our great country is tolerance. This has come to us not through any compulsion, enactment or pronouncement. Much before our Constitution itself, we were practicing this. What we should pass to our future generation is this practice of tolerance. Governments should actively consider bringing this as a very important part in student curriculum.”