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Ahead of the assembly polls in five states, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today asked security forces to guard against attempts to disturb peace through "vicious" political campaign or by external extremist forces during the election process.
Inaugurating the three-day annual DGPs/IGPs conference here, Singh said elections will be held in some states soon and it is the responsibility of police chiefs to ensure peaceful completion of the poll process.
"We have to keep strict vigil against external extremist elements who may try to create disturbance in Punjab. There have been increased activities of the Sikh terrorists in recent months.
"Similarly in Manipur, we have to ensure peace keeping in mind the ethnic divide. In Uttar Pradesh too, there may be attempts to disturb law and order through vicious political campaigning. We have to keep strict vigil and take proper steps to ensure peace during elections," he said.
Assembly elections are due in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa early next year.
The conference is being attended by around 100 Directors General of Police and Inspectors General of Police of states and UTs and heads of central police organisations at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy here.
Maintaining that threats of self-radicalisation and lone wolf attacks have been increasing, the Home Minister said there was no let up in Pakistan's support to terror and anti- India activities.
"We all know that a neighbouring country has been trying to instigate people in northern parts of the country to indulge in anti-India activities, providing training to terrorists and sending them to India to carry out in terror attacks. Despite all these efforts, the credit for maintaining peace in the country goes to security and intelligence agencies," he said.
Referring to the dreaded ISIS, Singh said due to close coordination between state and central forces, the youths, who were influenced by the terror group, have not been able to successfully carry out any strike in the country yet.
"So far, 67 youths, who were influenced by the ISIS, have been arrested while planning to carry out terror attack. We have to be fully alert against any such design. The whole world is worried about the terror activities of the ISIS. This is a big challenge for our country. I am confident that in the we will be able to face the challenge posed by the ISIS together," he said.
The Home Minister said the decision to demonetise Rs
1000 and Rs 500 notes has badly hit terrorists, naxals and other undesirable elements.
"We are confident that demonetisation will help in curbing the activities of extremists and anti-nationals to a great extent. We have to defeat the attempts by the naxals to convert the old Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes through local contractors, businessmen and sympathisers," he said.
Singh also appealed to DGPs of northeastern states to keep strict vigil against any attempt to pump black money into the banking system taking advantage of income tax exemption given to certain tribal communities there.
Talking about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the Home Minister said the state has been affected by unrest due to a "Pakistan-sponsored conspiracy" following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8.
"No country can accept any kind of violence perpetrated by the terrorists. This is being sponsored and inspired from across the border.
"When I went to Pakistan in August to attend a SAARC conference, I asked Pakistan how come one country's terrorist becomes another country's martyr or freedom fighter. But no one in Pakistan dared to reply to my question. Now the situation in the state has improved significantly," he said.
Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a Rs 80,000 crore package for Jammu and Kashmir some time ago and it is being implemented speedily.
"This is the reason why the separatists, with help from the neighbouring country, were trying to create disturbance in the state so that development gets hampered and people of the state, particularly the youth, are misled about India," he said.
The Home Minister said separatists and their supporters in Pakistan are not being able to digest the success of the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir and the development activities being carried out by it.
"Whatever little supports the separatists have in the state is gradually reducing. We have taken a number of steps to normalise the situation.
"To talk to the people of the state, I myself had led an all-party delegation. The Prime Minister had called an all- party meeting. We have been successful in bringing normalcy in the Kashmir Valley but due to the threat to common people from terrorists and separatists, normal commercial and academic activities have been hampered," he said.
Referring to the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army against terror launch pads in PoK, the Home Minister said by carrying it out, India has sent a message to everyone that its patience should not be considered misconstrued as weakness and its armed forces are capable of taking out the enemy anywhere and anytime.
Singh said cyber threat to the country has been increasing and attempts are being made to divide the society and create tension among communities through social media.
"Social media is being used to instigate people for anti-national activities. Cyber frauds are also increasing. This is a future challenge," he said.
Talking about the Maoists, the Home Minister said Naxals are in retreat and now confined to a limited area.