The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Backlash alert

New Delhi, Sept. 25: The Centre wants to make sure there is no replay of Godhra anywhere in the country.

With both Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his deputy L.K. Advani appealing for restraint, the home ministry is trying to ensure there is no backlash against minorities in the aftermath of the attack on the Swaminarayan temple.

A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security is expected to take place tomorrow. Sources said it would call for all communities to maintain peace as the government realises it cannot afford to tarnish its image with another bout of bloodletting.

The Centre is worried that the VHP call for an all-India strike tomorrow could trigger clashes and attacks on minorities in communally sensitive pockets. The BJP has officially not supported the strike.

Instructions have gone out from the home ministry to all state governments to identify “sensitive targets”.

All state governments have been asked to review security arrangements. While the focus initially was on temples, senior officials do not rule out attacks on railway stations, airports, markets, commercial establishment and cinemas.

Sources said all states have been asked to step up vigilance to a level similar to that of the periods after September 11 and the attack on Parliament. State chief secretaries and police chiefs were summoned to Delhi to work out security details.

“We are doing all we can to prevent a flare-up. It is up to the states to now make sure the situation does not go out of hand,” a senior home ministry official said.

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