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Non-unity of minds

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Non-Unity Of Minds. The media reported that the National Integration Council (NIC) had met on Monday, made suitable noises on the need for combating...

The media reported that the National Integration Council (NIC) had met on Monday, made suitable noises on the need for combating communalism on a national scale and dispersed. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is also the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) nominee for Prime Minister if the party and its two allies together win a sizable number of seats in the Lok Sabha in 2014 elections, boycotted the meeting, as did several other Chief Ministers, but Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, also of the BJP, attended the meeting.

It may be tempting to draw some unsavoury inferences from the absence of Modi, such as that he feared that if he attended the meeting he might have to answer some ill-mannered questions on what happened in his State in 2002, but such temptation should be resisted because the Council has been all but forgotten by the nation as a whole. Every time there is a communal riot, it surfaces itself like a hibernating bear and then vanishes God knows where until the next riot. As one participant said frankly during a TV discussion on Monday, nobody knows what, other than a communal riot, is needed for the Council to come alive even for a day.

The NIC has been meeting rather religiously after every riot for much longer than anyone can remember. Participants discuss what is already public knowledge, indulge in political blame game, make suggestions that nobody takes seriously until the next riot, and there ends the matter. What purpose, if any, do such conclaves serve, beyond making the nation believe that politicians are determined to end all communal riots until the next round of riots takes place?
Now that the country is still seized of the violence that occurred in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, a meeting of the NIC was convened and everyone from the Prime Minister to the Union Home Minister made assertions, such as that social media played a diabolical role to help fan violence. But not a word was uttered against those who misused the social media for their dubious ends. The nation knows that behind every communal riot politicians of all hues are active; when such politicians claim to be ranged against communal killings, who will take them seriously?
For instance, at almost every such meeting of the NIC resolutions are passed listing steps that need to be taken to prevent or quell communal riots. But has even one such resolution been implemented so far? That is why the nation ignores the NIC and its meetings, no matter how well-intentioned both are. If words could deter communalists, there would be no communal riots in India.
Since the communal elements know that the words will not be followed up with suitable and possibly stringent action, they are ignored. Thus these meetings have reduced themselves to futile exercises which serve no purpose other than giving an opportunity to the participants to pose as paladins against communalism.
For instance, what has prevented politicians from enacting the Bill against communalism that has been pending for years? The same politicians are, however, quick to save convicted fellow- politicians from losing their seats! Therefore, it is time the Centre and all States and politicians of different hues stopped playing the charade of being sincere about fighting communalism. Indeed, India would be free from the canker if the politicians who instigate riots in the name of religion were brought to book.
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