January 17, 2013 By Shauqeen Mizaj

At NIC It’s Demand for Harmony and Modi’s Absence


The national integration council convened in New Delhi on Monday has called for measures to encourage communal harmony and promote national integration along with the steps for the safety and security of women and eliminating the crimes and discrimination towards the Scheduled Caste/Sheduled Tribes (SC/STs).

The 148 –member council comprising union ministers, Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, chief ministers of all states and union territories, Leaders of national and regional political parties, chairpersons of national commissions, eminent journalists, public figures and representatives of business and women’s organisations was held after two years to examine and seek out various communal issues that occurred frequently in the country. The NIC, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was organized against the backdrop of Muzaffarnagar communal clashes that lead to the loss of 47 lives and displacement of 40,000 residents.

The Prime Minister condemned the use of social media in igniting communal discord among the parties referring to the fake video that provoked violence in Muzaffarnagar. He said that despite being a great tool for youngsters to express their views, people misuse technology for circulating malicious rumors leading to violence and disharmony which should be stopped. He demanded “strict and quick” actions against those who incite riots, irrespective of their “political affiliations” mentioning the violence in Kishtwar, in Hyderabad and in Assam. The Prime Minister said that changing laws alone would not be sufficient but a change in the temperament of people was necessary in order to cut down the rates of crimes against women and the discrimination towards SC/ST. “A nation can only progress when women can go to public places without fear,” he said. He asked the parties not to look for political gains during the times of communal violence.

Addressing the NIC members, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that the frequency of riots indicated a “sinister motive” of a group of people to create splits in the society and it was the responsibility of the concerned to maintain harmony and peace .He said there has been an increase in the number of communal riots in the last two years and that minor incidents get transformed into major clashes causing the displacement of the affected communities. Lalu Yadav said that the parties try to score political gains when communal violence strikes.

The fact that Modi wasn’t present at the meeting got him better focus especially amidst the hullabaloos surrounding him.Facing oppositions for being nominated as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, his presence could have electrified the ambience and he had a chance to continue his volatile attempts of appeasing the minority community by addressing them. But he had missed out on the possibility. According to The Indian Express reports, Gujarat Minister of State for Home Rajni Patel was present on behalf of Modi. The efforts he had been making to impress the Muslims and appear as an inclusive leader with an eye on the highest seat is completely insincere. In one instance, BJP handed out skull caps and Burqas to the Muslims taking part in the Jaipur rally making sure that they were visible to the TV cameras, the media.During his much hyped Sadhbhavna yatra, he refused to wear a skull cap offered to him by a Muslim cleric once again restoring friction and mistrust among the Muslims. Despite insisting repeatedly that he is secular and accomplishing his agendas one after the other at the same time including coaxing the Muslim community so as attain the highest position in the country, he clearly justifies the title “Hindu nationalist” in complete form.

The NIC was established in September-October 1961 to fight the evils of communalism, casteism, regionalism, linguism and narrow-mindedness, as a follow-up of the National Integration Conference under the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The first meeting of the NIC was held in 1962. In the meeting held in 1968, the NIC declared its objectives as unity in diversity, freedom of religions, secularism, equality, social, economic and political justice and fraternity among all communities.

The NIC meeting held on Monday tried to involve all the segments of the society in eliminating the communal tensions which was of foremost priority in the agenda put forward by the Prime Minister. Immediate actions will be taken to stop the agitators and to ensure amity and peace among communities.Countless FIRs were filed by the relatives of the victims against several politicians and community leaders since the riots. But the arrests were deliberately avoidedin spite having enough evidence. Finally the court issued non-bailable warrants against many politicians earlier this month. BJP MLA Sangeet Som was arrested from Salava village in his constituency Sardhana for uploading the video that was used to instigate religious splits in Muzaffarnagar.The video was later found to be madeup with an intension of spreading tensions.The Uttar Pradesh police have taken into custody BJP MLA Suresh Rana in Lucknow the previous day for making provocative speeches in different meetings to incite riots.The Prime Minister concluded that the council will be initiating essential measures to improve the communal situation and prevent atrocities on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and violence against women.

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