NATIONAL

`Human rights cannot be lost sight of'

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressing the AICC session in New Delhi on Saturday. — Photo: Shanker Chakravarty  

NEW DELHI, AUG. 21. The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has said that a multi-faceted approach is needed to tackle the cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir or the insurgency in parts of the North-East or the naxalite violence in some other parts of the country. While the law-enforcing machinery has to be made both effective and people-friendly, it should also address the feeling of alienation among a section of people.

"Human rights concerns cannot be lost sight of and genuine concerns and grievances should be redressed," he added.

Addressing the All-India Congress Committee, Dr. Singh reiterated his Government offer to hold talks with any group provided they gave up violence.

As regards the North-East, he said some underground elements were out to vitiate the atmosphere and the Government was committed to restoring normality so that people could lead a peaceful life and prosper both economically and socially. The Manipur situation was being monitored closely and the Government would take whatever steps were needed to ensure that people there live in peace and dignity.

"We need to have a new development paradigm here which revitalises the growth processes. I take development aspirations of these regions seriously but one must remember that development can take place only in a secure, peaceful and harmonious environment... I appeal to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and North-East to help us in this gigantic national task of reconstruction."

Seven priorities

Dr. Singh highlighted seven priority areas, of agriculture, water, education, health care, employment, urban renewal and infrastructure. He also touched upon the legislation the Government plans to bring, including one to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The need for better fiscal management both by the Centre and the States was also stressed.