M A I N   N E W S

Crack down on communal elements, PM tells states
Chief Ministers of several non-Congress states skip National Integration Council meet
Tribune News Service

The NIC resolution

  • The council condemned all forms of violence intended to disturb communal harmony and promises immediate action against those involved in it
  • It agreed to take steps to preserve, sustain and strengthen the harmonious relationship between all communities
  • Meeting flayed sexual abuse, molestation and attacks on women
  • The council denounced repeated atrocities on SCs/ STs and decided to take stringent action against the guilty

New Delhi, September 23
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday directed states to crack down on elements fanning communal riots, saying action must be taken irrespective of political affiliations or influence of those responsible for such acts.

“Threats from communal, separatist and obscurantist forces to our nation's integrity, gender relations, harmony and equality for all our citizens must be dealt with firmly and promptly," the Prime Minister said at the 16th meeting of the National Integration Council in New Delhi.

The day-long NIC meeting was called in the backdrop of recent Muzaffarnagar violence. The Prime Minister said a national effort by people of all sections of society, including politicians, is needed to prevent incidents of communal violence. "It is also incumbent on all of us to promote actively an atmosphere conducive to communal harmony," he said. “Nobody gains from strife but it put a question mark on our existence as a civilised country,” said Manmohan Singh. He asked states to lose no time in controlling communal flare-ups. “It’s the responsibility of the local administration and the police to not allow a small issue to snowball into a huge controversy,” he said.

“Make it clear to officials that carelessness will not be tolerated. They (officials) are answerable in case of any communal tension or violence,” said the PM.

The meeting was ‘boycotted’ by a large number of non-Congress Chief Ministers, including BJP’s PM nominee and Gujarat CM Narendra Modi. In total, 16 of the 28 CMs attended it. Modi had also not attended the last meeting of the NIC in 2011. Other missing CMs were Parkash Singh Badal (Punjab), J Jayalalithaa (Tamil; Nadu) Manohar Parikkar (Goa), Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) and Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said all members have pointed out that there were vested interests behind communal violence and collective efforts were needed to contain the menace. "We are facing new and emerging challenges in the wake of use of technology like the social media. They have the potential for creating enormous trouble but if used properly they can be powerful tool for spreading the message of peace and brotherhood," Shinde said.

On Modi’s absence, Shinde said: “It was essential for him to come. Why he did not come, I don’t know.” In an apparent dig at Modi, Union Minister Manish Tewari said: "Why someone has not come, that person can respond best. But the understanding is that if you are serious and dedicated to national integration and want to maintain communal harmony, you would attend the NIC meeting”. The meeting also discussed the communal violence Bill. “We will bring it soon (in Parliament),” said Shinde, adding that some corrections were being made in it.

At the meeting, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav alleged, "The BJP is trying to convert Uttar Pradesh into Gujarat.”





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