NATIONAL

Congress, Left parties see terrorist design

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Condemning Tuesday's terrorist attack at Ayodhya, the Congress and Left parties said it was clearly designed to inflame communal passions. They urged the people to maintain calm and criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party for trying to politicise the incident.

Expressing the nation's gratefulness to the paramilitary forces for foiling the terrorist attempt, the Congress said it always treated such incidents as a threat to the secular fabric of the country, and acted in the best interests of the country's integrity and unity.

"Stand united"

The party appealed to all citizens to stand united and consolidate the democratic and secular ethos of the nation. "The Congress resolves once again to carry on its relentless fight against terrorism,'' Ambika Soni, chairperson of the party's media department said in a statement.

Call for transparent probe

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) appealed to the people not to fall prey to rumour-mongering and to maintain peace and communal harmony. It urged the Centre to order a thorough and transparent inquiry into the attack, to identify and bring to book those behind the attack, to pinpoint any lapses and to take necessary measures.

The CPI and the CPI(M-L) Liberation echoed similar views.

The CPI (M-L) condemned the "highly provocative and irresponsible statements" issued by the leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the BJP, especially L.K. Advani.

Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said the BJP's attempt to convert the incident into an opportunity for playing politics was "irresponsible'.

It was ironical that Mr. Advani joined his Sangh Parivar siblings by calling for a bandh and taking a confrontationist approach.

In its eagerness to score political points, the BJP forgot to acknowledge the role played by the security forces in thwarting the attack.

Janata Dal (Secular) general secretary Danish Ali condemned the attack and also criticised the VHP/BJP leaders' statements. By making such statements, these leaders were promoting unrest, something the terrorists had intended to do by carrying out the attack, he said.

Later in the evening, the Prime Minister briefed the Left parties on the incident.

After an hour-long meeting with Manmohan Singh at his residence, CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan said, "We appeal to the people not to yield to provocation or fall prey to attempts of certain elements to create an atmosphere of communal confrontation.'' He was replying to a question on the BJP's statement that the terror strike was an attack on Hindu faith.

Mr. Bardhan said he did not agree with Mr. Advani's reported remark that the Ayodhya issue was back on centre-stage in the country's politics. "It might be his wish, but we will not allow it to be fulfilled.''

To another question, he said the attack might have been carried out to derail the India-Pakistan peace process.

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the Prime Minister shared their view that the attack could have been carried out to derail the peace process but maintained that the incident would not be an obstacle in that direction.

Mr. Yechury said the attack at a religious place was aimed at creating chaos and anarchy.

CPI national secretary D. Raja and RSP MP Abani Roy were present at the meeting with the Prime Minister.

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