M A I N   N E W S

PM assures just and fair treatment to minorities
Anita Katyal and Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 18
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to make a statement in Parliament, possibly next week on terrorism which would aim at reassuring the minorities that the UPA government would be fair and just on all issues pertaining to minorities, including the recent incidents of terror attacks.

The Prime Minister assured minority leaders who met him here today in connection with the latest incident of encounter at Jamia nagar in New Delhi on September 19, which many believe was fake, and which has caused considerable disquiet among the minorities.

The minority leaders led by former UPCC president Salman Khursheed, minority department chairman in the AICC, Imranur Rehman Kidwai and others met the Prime Minister here today. They took up with him the sense of disquiet and insecurity among the minorities resulting from what they felt was a conscious and deliberate attempt to paint Muslims as terrorists.

They told the Prime Minister that the government needed to address their genuine concerns. The minority leaders later said that they told the Prime Minister that even if the boys killed in the encounter were actual terrorist there was need for some transparent action to be able to convince the critics of the genuineness of the police action.

They also raised the issue about reports that the government was opposed to any inquiry since it was being said that it could demoralise the security forces fighting the terrorists.

The Prime Minister reportedly assured the leaders that he would do whatever was possible to allay such apprehensions in the people’s mind. He also reportedly told them, “Don’t go by all kinds of reports. I will take a decision and if need be will call you again to discuss this issue.”

The minorities are bristling with anger and disbelief not just over September 19 incident of Jamia but even earlier arrests or simply painting Muslim youths with promising career, as terrorists.

The fallout is that all political parties, except for the BJP and its allies, are rushing to Jamia to reassure them against any sense of persecution.

The Prime Minister has managed to mollify his party’s minority leaders. But he has still to contend with the allies. RJD president Lalu Prasad and LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan and SP leader Amar Singh, BSP MP Dumpy Akbar Ahmad have all spoken against what they termed as unfair persecution of the Muslims at the hands of the security forces.

Last night Congress’ and SP’s new found ally Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee went to Jamia along with Amar Singh and gave an ultimatum of 72 hours to the UPA government to institute a judicial inquiry.

Incidentally, earlier in the evening she and Amar Singh had gone and met senior Congress leader and Union external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee to press for the probe. Mukherjee reportedly told them, “Yes, I understand, we should not allow such feeling of alienation to grow any further in the Muslim community.”



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