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`Do not politicise attack'

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh making a statement in New Delhi on Tuesday. PHOTO: RAJEEV BHATT

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh making a statement in New Delhi on Tuesday. PHOTO: RAJEEV BHATT  

Security stepped up at religious places

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Condemning the militant attack on "the disputed site" at Ayodhya as an act of terrorism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday mobilised government resources to ensure that "communal harmony, peace and public order" were maintained, especially in view of the Bharatiya Janata Party's plan to organise nationwide protests.

Soon after the attack, Dr. Singh cancelled his trip to Gujarat to assess flood damage and summoned the Cabinet Committee on Security. It was decided to alert the State Governments to increase protection and security at religious places, security installations and monuments. He spoke to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and offered all help in coping with the aftermath of the incident.

After a late night meeting of the Cabinet's Political Affairs Committee, Dr. Singh described the attack as one aimed at "destabilising our society and polity." He said "the Government is determined to deal firmly with all such acts" and "there will be no compromise on terrorism. Let there be no doubt on this account in anybody's mind."

According to Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, at the CCS meeting Dr. Singh expressed the hope that the incident would not be politicised.

There is satisfaction that the security forces acted effectively and foiled the attack. The Government's thinking was best reflected in Mr. Mukherjee's statement: "We have been able to protect the place, and all the attackers were killed. The CRPF was in the inner circle and they ensured not a single attacker was allowed to escape. Efforts are on to establish their identity and in between we should dissuade all those who attempt to disrupt peace and tranquillity."

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