Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Saturday admitted that incidents of communal violence have increased in the country and cautioned all states to remain alert and foil any attempt to disturb peace ahead of the general elections.
"Communal violence incidents have increased since last year. While 410 incidents occurred in the country last year, this year, till now, 451 incidents have taken place," he told reporters here.
Shinde said all states have been "alerted" in view of this and he has personally called up Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today and discussed the subject.
Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth had yesterday directed all states to firmly deal with incidents of communal violence and warned that communal polarisation may vitiate the country's social fabric ahead of general elections.
He had told chief secretaries and DGPs of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir to fully gear up to check incidents of communal violence by strengthening intelligence gathering mechanism and preventive arrests.
The meeting was convened following a directive of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was "very concerned" over the spurt of communal violence in last few months, official sources said.
One such incident was reported in August from Nawada in Bihar where two people lost their lives while 22 others were injured. Few other communal violence incidents were reported from Uttar Pradesh's Shamli and Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir.
Seth, accompanied by union home secretary Anil Goswami and other senior central officers, conveyed to the chief secretaries and DGPs that there were reports of communal polarisation in some parts and that needed to be checked immediately else it may vitiate country's social fabric, sources said.
The top officials of the central government had also warned that such incidents may increase in coming days and expected to take place in the run up to the 2014 general elections.
The states were asked to analyse the reasons of such violence, prepare road-map how to deal them and take remedial steps so that in future no petty incident takes communal colour, as witnessed in the past, sources said.