NATIONAL

Advani calls for "fitting" countrywide protest

"Internal security situation weakened"

Special Correspondent

GUWAHATI: Bharatiya Janata Party president L.K. Advani said Tuesday's terrorist attack on the Ram temple at Ayodhya was a "very serious" incident and called for a "fitting" protest.

Mr. Advani told reporters here that he got in touch with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil; the Central Reserve Police Force Director-General; central BJP leaders and party leaders in Uttar Pradesh and took stock of the developments.

Mr. Advani said he had instructed senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and Kalyan Singh to rush to Ayodhya.

"It is really a matter of serious concern that terrorists armed with AK-47 succeeded in entering the heavily-guarded temple. There should be a fitting reaction. We will give shape to a countrywide protest after I reach Delhi."

Mr. Advani said Ram Janmabhoomi was a "very sacred place" for the people of the country and the "response to the attack on the temple should be equally fitting."

When terrorists attacked the Akshardham temple in Ahmedabad the National Democratic Alliance Government rushed National Security Guards commandos to eliminate them. He, however, declined to say whether there was any security lapse.

Later, addressing party workers here, Mr. Advani said internal security weakened under the United Progressive Alliance Government. The BJP-led NDA Government had held regular meetings to monitor the situation.

It had identified three major threats to internal security — naxalite activities aided by Maoists rebels of Nepal, insurgency and illegal immigration from Bangladesh. The NDA Government had taken a tough stand that it would hold a dialogue with the naxalites and insurgent groups only if they gave up arms.

Mr. Advani said his party was not opposed to the Centre holding talks with the United Liberation Front of Asom but there must not be any discussion on the issue of sovereignty.

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