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Press Release following Prime Minister’s visit to Gujarat

New Delhi
January 10, 1999

The Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee today reaffirmed his government's resolve to ensure communal harmony in the country and told the state governments in no uncertain terms that acts of violence against the minority communities wherever and in whatever form they occur must be dealt with sternly and exemplary punishment awarded to the perpetrators.

The secular character of our country has to be maintained at all costs and therefore the states should not tolerate any violence by any person or any organisation against any community. It is incumbent upon the state governments to take firm and determined action against those who indulge in such violence because prompt response and swift action are essential for maintenance of communal harmony, peace and law and order. All the law enforcing agencies especially the law and order machinery of the state government have to remain vigilant and the Chief Minister and others in charge of law and order should repeatedly emphasise this to their officers and also to the general public through Press and other media at all appropriate occasions. The District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police may be made personally responsible to look into complaints of harassment of any citizen, irrespective of caste and creed, so that immediate action could be taken for providing the required protection and for taking immediate action for bringing the culprits to book.