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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Use of social media to spread communal strife must be checked: Akhilesh

PTI  New Delhi, September 23, 2013
First Published: 15:47 IST(23/9/2013) | Last Updated: 16:03 IST(23/9/2013)

Charging that some political parties are trying to "dangerously" disturb the communal harmony in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday warned such forces of stringent action.

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Addressing the meeting of National Integration Council (NIC), he also demanded that the Centre put in place a mechanism to check misuse of social media and mobile phones to fan communal tension.

Communal violence erupted in Muzaffarnagar, about 125 km east of Delhi, early in September in which 48 people died and 50,000 were displaced. A fake video was allegedly uploaded by a BJP MLA on a social networking site that played a role in provoking violence in the district. 

"At present, it seems that some of the main political parties are trying to dangerously harm the communal harmony of the state in view of 2014 general elections. Efforts are on to polarise people of the state," Yadav said.

He said small incidents like vehicle accidents, sexual assault, which can be sorted out at local or panchayat level, are being converted into big problems by vested interests.

Talking about the violence in Muzaffarnagar, he said strict action will be taken against those found to be involved in it.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar also spoke about vote-bank politics which is leading to a spike communal violence across the country.

"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. We have seen what happened at Muzaffarnagar. Some forces fan the fire of communal tensions in order to polarise the situation in their favour. This kind of political thinking completely stuns me,” he said.

His party Janata Dal (United) had earlier snapped its 17-year-old ties with BJP in June protesting against Narendra Modi's proposed elevation as the prime ministerial candidate.

Kumar also voiced concern over the frequency and magnitude of religious processions, which are "sometimes given innovative names like ‘Yatra’ and ‘Parikrama’”.

Stressing that such 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...they do not want to be entangled in old slogans of division and hatred".

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, meanwhile, said one group or organisation should not be made a scapegoat and held responsible for instances of communal violence, apparently referring to various political leaders who have alleged that the BJP is behind such incidents.

"Our view is that justice is for everybody, opportunities are for everyone and refusal to no one. Our vision is clear. We believe that the immediate frenzy of communalism has a root in vote bank politics,” he said at the meet.

Chouhan also refuted allegation that the BJP was the party spreading communal strife.

"If you see the facts of these glib talkings, you will see that these states (BJP ruled) do not nurture religion as vote bank... these states have been free of communal riots in the last decade because they do not indulge in politics of separation and neither the administration has been compelled to take sides of any particular religious community," he said.

Chouhan also said that a mechanism needs to be worked out to check the social media’s role in spreading misinformation.


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