Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday asked chief ministers to go all out to punish perpetrators of communal incidents — irrespective of their influence or political affiliation — and urged parties to neither give riots a political colour nor reap electoral dividends over the tragedy.
The PM also spoke about how social media was used to circulate fake videos to provoke tension in Muzaffarnagar and elsewhere and called for steps to prevent its misuse by troublemakers without restricting people from expressing their opinion.
Singh’s emphasis on fair play by state authorities came at the National Integration Council on Monday attended by chief ministers of 16 states. Minutes earlier, the council had heard home minister Sushilkumar Shinde speak about “sinister motives” behind the communal strife in recent months.
Despite his absence, BJP prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was the subtext at the council’s meeting.
Right from the way veteran BJP LK Advani — who had sulked for days at Modi’s elevation as the party’s PM candidate — reached out to warmly greet Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to the potshots that leaders took at the BJP, Modi and his second-in-command. This was the first time that the two leaders were meeting after Kumar walked out of the NDA over Modi’s projection.
Statistics of communal violence circulated by the home ministry at the meeting made it clear that minorities had borne the brunt of the communal violence this year, particularly in Uttar Pradesh. Without naming Modi’s confidante and the party’s UP incharge Amit Shah, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav accused BJP of trying to convert UP into Gujarat.
Highlights from the meeting
Today's meet is significant as it's being held in backdrop of riots in Muzaffarnagar: PM
In recent times, there have been other instances of communal violence across India. Violence has taken place in Kishtwar, Hyderabad: PM
The states need to fight to communal violence quickly. Local administration must take immediate steps to ensure that riots do not spread: PM
Strict and quick action should be taken against those who incite riots, irrespective of their political affiliations: PM
Govt should do everything to act against those spreading communal violence, no matter how powerful they are: PM
Let us not try and make political gains out of communal violence: PM
Nearly 10,000 cases of violence registered against SCs and ST's: PM
Can't let any weaker section feel that they are not part of the mainstream: PM
Violence against SCs and STs has been rising. This is a troubling issue for India: PM
A nation can only progress when women can go to public places without fear: PM
It is a matter of shame that incidents of rape are rising in India. We made changes in law to ensure safety and security of women: PM
But changing laws is not enough, we need to change our social thinking as well: PM
Social Media is being misused in India. In Muzaffarnagar riots a fake video was used to spread rumour: PM
Shinde addresses NIC meeting
Safety and security of women is one of the issues that will be discussed at NIC meet: Shinde
No country can progress without respecting its women: Shinde
We need to discuss what further steps can be taken to change attitude of society towards women: Shinde
Crime aganist women data shows increase in last three years: Shinde
Communal forces seem to have got more emboldened and are sparking more conflicts: Shinde
Despite attempts in Constitution, they have not been integrated completely in the society: Shinde
Only a small group of people creating communal tension, we need to resist these force: Shinde