NEW DELHI: Parliament today expressed alarm at the fear psychosis that has gripped people from Northeast in some other parts of the country, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warning stern action against those behind the “most reprehensible” act of creating insecurity.
Both Houses of Parliament showed solidarity with the people of North East, with Rajya Sabha adopting a resolution demanding a thorough probe into the spread of rumors that have created panic.
Singh asserted that the government would do everything to control the situation and provide security to people of North East as he decried use of incidents of Assam and other areas as an excuse for fanning rumors and creating insecurity.
Speaking on the burning issue in both Houses, he said North East region was “very sensitive issue” and said those spreading rumors would be brought to book. He urged the people to maintain unity and integrity of the country.
His remarks came as Parliament, rising above party politics, spoke in unison against the panic created among people from North East in states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Both the Houses took up impromptu debate on the issue amid demands for suspension of Question Hour. While Question Hour was suspended in the Upper House, Kumar took up the issue without any suspension in the Lok Sabha.
The Rajya Sabha passed a resolution declaring that it was one with the people of North East and shared concern over the fleeing of people from different parts of the country.
In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Meira Kumar thanked all political parties in helping send an unmistakable signal of Lok Sabha’s solidarity with the people.
“We will do everything to provide them security,” Singh said, terming as “most reprehensible” the growing sense of insecurity among them. . “The North Eastern Region of our country is a very sensitive region, but one thing that I would like to say that whatever may have happened in Kokrajhar and other areas should not be used as an occasion to fan rumors to create an environment in other parts of our country that the people of the North East feel insecure,” said the Prime Minister, who represents Assam in the Rajya Sabha.
Cautioning that communal harmony as well as unity and integrity of the country was at stake, he said miscreants spreading rumors that have led to panic among people belonging to North East would be brought to book.
“We must curb all the elements which are out to create trouble on this sensitive issue,” he said, adding a message has to be sent out to all those who want to disturb peace.
“We should send a clear message that we will do everything to provide security to people from North East living in various parts of the country,” he said, amid assertion that they have “as much right” as anybody else to study and work in any part of the country.
Singh said his government would work with all “like- minded” people to bring the situation under control without any loss of time.
Singh urged the people to maintain unity and integrity of the country. The people are one and “we will do everything to provide them security,” he said, adding it was duty of everyone to create an atmosphere where rumor mongering will come to an end.
The government will create a feeling of security among people of North East in every part of the country, he said.
Singh said he was in touch with the Chief Ministers of various states who assured him that “we will do our utmost to ensure that our friends, our children and our citizens from the North East feel secure in any part and every part” of our country. . Home Minister Sushi Kumar Shinde hailed the message of unity given by Parliament with the people of North East and said both the Centre and the state governments had taken prompt action to check the spread of violence. However, rumor mongering was a major cause for the panic among them.
Assuring the House that he would ask all states to take preventive action wherever necessary, Shinde said he had asked the Director of Intelligence Bureau to trace the source of the SMSes and internet sites like Facebook and Youtube that appeared to be the cause of the trouble.
Announcing that 170 persons had been arrested for the violence in Kokrajhar and other areas of Assam, 24 in Mumbai and 13 in Pune, he appealed to all those who had left their places of work and studies and fled to the North East to return and continue with their normal lives.
The debate saw members cutting across party lines asking the government to come down heavily against those behind the incidents as also rumor-mongering.
CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta accused the government of not being hard in tackling the situation and said “sweet appeals do not make sense to the villains. Our words must match our deeds”. He warned that if timely action was not taken, it would give a fillip to the terrorist movement in the North East.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad utilized the occasion to make a veiled attack on BJP-RSS, saying “everyone knows who spread rumors about Ganesha idols drinking milk”. He also recalled the attacks on Biharis in Maharashtra.
He said all this was being done “with an eye on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections” as some people wanted to gain political mileage out of it. -PTI