PM asks to use iron hand in NIC meet, Shinde confirms sinister motive in communal violence
Nitish targets ‘divisive agenda’ as key factor in polarizing the country
New Delhi: Voicing concern over rise in incidents of communal violence, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for effective handling of such issues with iron hand and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde confirmed sinister motive behind communal violence acts in a National Integration Council (NIC) meeting here.
The Prime Minister said that the country had witnessed communal clashes recently in Kishtwar area of Jammu and Kashmir, Nawada area of Bihar, Hyderabad and most importantly Uttar Pradesh which has seen an increase in these incidents in the past few months.
“At times, the anti-national forces succeed in creating a communal divide between various sections of people and such forces are a big challenge for the democracy of this country,” the Prime Minister said.
Singh called for effective handling of such forces with an iron hand. He said that the state governments should make it clear to its officials that “carelessness will not be tolerated” whenever communal tension takes places in their area of jurisdiction. “They (officials) are answerable in case of any communal tension or violence,” he said.
While Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today said that the frequency of riots had suggested that there was a sinister motive behind such clashes and attempts are being made to polarize the society.
Addressing the meeting, Shinde said, “The frequency of incidents, especially in the last few months, seems to suggest that there is a sinister motive behind them. It is noticed that the communal forces seem to have got emboldened and are trying to polarize the society,” he said.
Praising the tolerant nature of Indian society, Shinde said that the respect for each other and to the diverse cultures, languages and religions has shown the tolerant side of Indian society. “Ours is the land where diverse religions have flourished together and the people have lives harmoniously. In spite of this diversity, the invisible but all pervasive thread of being ‘Indian’ keep us united,” he said.
The Home Minister said that it was the duty of everyone to keep this ‘torch of unity’ shining bright under all circumstances as the tradition of communal harmony, tolerance and mutual respect has always been the distinguishing features of the country’s civilization and polity.
Shinde said the brutal rape and attack on a young girl in Delhi last year shocked the conscience of the nation and the government of India took a major initiative to amend the criminal law to make the punishment for such offences more stringent.
“The judiciary also took steps to fast track the prosecution of the criminals and the judgment in the matter was pronounced recently. We hope that this example will serve as a deterrent,” he said.
The Home Minister said that only a small group of people was responsible for creating divisions in the society and it was the duty of all concerned to resist these forces.
The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was convened in the backdrop of riots in Muzaffarnagar that claimed 48 lives.
Nitish targets divisive agenda
Speaking at the National Integration Council, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, whose party JD(U) snapped its 17-year-old ties with BJP in June protesting against Narendra Modi’s elevation, asked whether competitive politics should necessarily lead to passionate persuasion of a “divisive agenda”.
The Bihar Chief Minister also voiced concern over the frequency and magnitude of religious processions, which are “some times given innovative names like ‘Yatra’ and ‘Parikrama’.” We see that whenever there is communal violence, more often than not, the involvement of anti-social elements draws their strength in collusion with the political class.
Stressing those forces should be fought with all the strength and their “nefarious” plans should not be allowed to succeed, he said people of India want good governance “but not at the cost of societal instability and violence. “Doing so may deliver short gains for some, but it eventually leaks to weakening of basic premise of our nation itself,” Kumar said.
What is NIC?
NIC stands for National Integration Council. NIC members include: Union ministers, Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Chief Ministers and Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories are members of NIC. Leaders of national and regional political parties, chairpersons of national commissions, eminent journalists, public figures and representatives of business and women’s organizations are also part of the 148-member NIC.