Raising the issue of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Punjab government here on Monday urged the National Integration Council (NIC) to work towards addressing "failures" in the system to ensure that the guilty are punished in the aftermath of communal violence.
Representing Punjab at the NIC meeting here, state information and public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia said failure to punish those guilty of the 1984 massacre in the national capital and "rewarding killers" with high offices was not the best way to promote peace, harmony and national integration.
He said the failure of the system to deliver justice even after 30 long years had caused deep resentment and led to a dangerous alienation. The biggest confidence-building measure is to ensure justice in the aftermath of communal violence.
Majithia said such issues needed to be addressed with utmost seriousness by the NIC, which by its very definition was the perfect forum to bring about emotional integration of people by assuaging their hurt sentiments.
Underlining the need to create an atmosphere in which people have faith in the sincerity, sensitivity and impartiality of political leaders, he emphasised the need for sagacious leadership and an effective police force.
He said the political leadership had to rise above narrow vote-bank politics and be representative of all communities and guard against alignment with sectarian forces.
Majithia said in the past two years, hundreds of people had been killed in communal clashes and thousands injured in almost 20 states, but no incident of communal violence had been recorded in Punjab.
"Constant vigil being kept by us to ensure communal harmony is maintained at all costs," he said.
Majithia said sincerity, sensitivity and impartiality of political leaders went a long way in building public morale and confidence.
Quoting National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics, he said Punjab accounted for only 1.33% of the total incidents of crime against women reported in the country.
Reiterating the state government's priority for safety and security of women, he listed out various steps initiated to ensure quick trial of crimes against women.
He also pointed out that Punjab had the highest percentage (32%) of the Scheduled Caste population and the state had initiated a number of measures for their welfare too.
The minister said social media had a tremendous capacity to play a positive role and governments must encourage citizens, especially the youth, to use it for promoting national integration and tackling hate propaganda.
Majithia said he was hopeful that just like the rape and murder of a young woman in Delhi forced the nation to rise and change the law to ensure better security for women, the Muzzafarnagar violence in Uttar Pradesh would become a catalyst for communal harmony, peace and all-round development of the country.