New Delhi: The meeting on internal security in New Delhi on Tuesday witnessed a political slanging match. When Home Minister P Chidambaram cited the Pune and Varanasi blasts to make the point that prior intelligence warnings given by the Centre were not heeded, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan hit back saying the biggest threat to internal security was corruption itself, hinting at the numerous scams that have taken place under the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government.
The conference saw Chauhan, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in attendance. While Chauhan and Modi are Bharatiya Janata Party members, Kumar belong to the Janata Dal (United).
But some other prominent chief minister belonging to opposition parties like Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattarcharjee and Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa did not attend the conference.
While addressing the conference Prime Minister Manmohan Singh emphasised on the need of community policing to make the situation better.
The Prime Minister, while expressing his pleasure that no major communal tension was reported in 2010, said, "We had only two incidents of terror in 2010 – in Pune and Varanasi".
However, both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister did not refer to any group while expressing concern over threats from various sources including religious fundamentalism. Chidambaram just spoke about "new groups" that are suspected to be behind some terror attacks in recent years.
Both of them avoided any direct reference to right-wing groups which have recently come under the scanner over their alleged involvement in cases like Malegaon, Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts.
The Prime Minister said he was happy to note that the National Investigative Agency, created in the aftermath of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, has gained much ground "in unravelling the activities of new terror groups" besides unearthing the fake Indian currency notes networks operating from across the borders.
The Home Minister, who was complimented by the Prime Minister for better internal security situation, said "there are a number of modules operating within the country; and new groups have raised their heads that are suspected to be behind some terrorist attacks that took place in recent years.
"We cannot shy away from naming these groups or exposing their designs. Whatever their religious affiliations, I have no hesitation in condemning every group that resorts to terror as a means of advancing dubious religious causes or fundamentalist goals."
The Home Minister's reference to saffron terror on an earlier occasion had created a controversy with BJP and RSS attacking him and some Congress leaders distancing the party from it.