In the backdrop of continuing attacks on Christians in Orissa and Karnataka, a meeting of the National Integration Council has been convened on October 13 in an apparent move to evolve a consensus on tackling the communal situation.
Convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the meeting will discuss all matters impacting national integration, Minister of State for Home Shakeel Ahmed said.
There have been demands for the dismissal of the BJD-BJP government in Orissa in the wake of communal violence in the Kandamal district and the Prime Minister had recently said that a special meeting of the Union Cabinet could be convened soon to discuss ways and means to deal with the issue.
Home Minister Shivraj Patil had sent several advisories to the Naveen Patnaik government to get its act together to check the violence. Patil's strongly-worded letter to Patnaik on the situation had triggered speculation that the Centre could take the extreme action.
In the wake of the Union Cabinet expressing concern over the Kandhamal situation on Friday, Patil asked the Chief Minister to take effective steps and provide security to people in the violence-hit district.
Contesting the Centre's charge, the Chief Minister said that his government was doing everything possible to contain the situation.
The Prime Minister has suffered embarrassment in his just concluded foreign visit when he was asked questions about the attacks on Christians.
The NIC meeting is being held just few days ahead of the Parliament session beginning on October 17 which is expected to be a stormy affair.
Congress has demanded that the Prime Minister convene the NIC to evolve a political consensus in the wake of the attack.
There has been a feeling in the ruling party that extreme action was not possible due to the fractured mandate. The Left parties which have been opposing communal politics are staunchly against using Article 356 and similar is the view of UPA constituents like the DMK.
In the last Union Cabinet meeting, the prime minister asked Patil to come with an appraisal report on the situation and the meeting also saw demands for action against the Orissa government.