NATIONAL

Govt. will not go back on POTO: Venkaiah

NELLORE, DEC. 30. The Union Minister for Rural Development, Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu, has categorically stated that there was no going back on the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO).

Addressing a meeting of the BJP functionaries here on Sunday, he said in the changed circumstances, acts such as POTO were essential to curb the menace of terrorism.

Countries such as U.K., U.S., France and Germany already had such laws, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said and added that he could not understand why there was to such laws in India.

The United Nations had also advised member-nations to have stricter laws to deal with terrorism.

The decisions of the Prime Minister to stop the bus and train services to Pakistan, besides the recall of the High Commissioner and reducing the diplomatic staff were only a beginning of series of measures by the Government.

Mr. Naidu charged Pakistan with having an ulterior motive to destroy secularism in India and said that the country might be in for a long drawn battle to root out terrorism.

Referring to the attack on Parliament and the criticism that there was a security lapse, he said within 20 minutes all the intruders were shot dead and the Delhi Police had won appreciation from all over world.

Irrespective of the support from the U.S., India's fight against terrorism would continue, he added.

Coming down heavily upon the so-called champions of human rights who are opposing the POTO, he asked why they remained silent when peoples' representatives were gunned down, innocents were kidnapped and public property was destroyed in a senseless manner.

The amended POTO had got adequate safeguards and there was no danger or limitation on the security and rights of citizens.

Mr. Venkaiah Naidu expressed surprise that some human rights associations were even supporting terrorists.

Also these associations remained silent when harsh laws were passed in States such as Maharashtra and West Bengal.

He told the party workers to be cautious and counter the propaganda launched by the Congress and Left parties and the systematic campaign against the Defence Minister, Mr. George Fernandes.

On allegations over the purchase of coffins for Kargil martyrs, he said even the U.N. agencies were unable to supply them at less than $2,000.

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