Peace must be maintained at any cost: PM

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of panic among the people from Northeast in Karnataka created by rumours, a concerned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said all parties should work together to give confidence to affected people and peace must be maintained at any cost.

Singh, who has spoken to Karnataka Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, underlined the need for remaining vigilant and maintaining communal harmony. "All political parties must work together to give a feeling of confidence to all affected people," he told reporters at an Iftaar party hosted by him at his residence.

He was asked about the exodus of people hailing from Northeast from Karanataka after panic gripped them because of rumours that they could be targeted.

Singh said he had spoken to the Karnataka Chief Minister and the state government was doing its best to quash those rumours.

On his message to Shettar during the phone call on Wednesday, Singh said "we must work together to ensure that people from other states do not feel threatened by rumour- mongering and SMSes. We have to maintain peace at any cost."

Singh said the Karnataka Chief Minister was good enough to send his Home Minister to Bangalore railway station where people from northeast had gathered to board trains to Guwahati. "They (Karnataka government) are taking all the steps to quash rumour-mongering," the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister was asked to comment on BJP`s question as to why he had spoken only to the Karnataka Chief Minister and not those of Congress-ruled states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh which have also witnessed similar problems.

Refusing to get into a slanging match, Singh said the Maharashtra Chief Minister was with him Tuesday and he was in constant touch with Gogoi. He said he was yet to speak with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Reddy.

Asked whether he was concerned about the effects of Assam violence spreading to other states, Singh said "we have to maintain communal harmony. We have to be vigilant." The stabbing of a Tibetan student by two men in Mysore on Tuesday suspecting him to be from northeast added to the fears of the people from the region.