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Nobody should feel scared in secular India, says Rahul

New Delhi, Dec 23, 2013 (PTI) 22:07 IST
Rahul Gandhi. AP Photo
Rahul Gandhi today stressed on the need to instill a sense of security and fearlessness among all sections of society at a manifesto meeting of Congress where the Muzaffarnagar communal riots and the subsequent exodus of Muslims from their villages dominated the discussions.

The meeting was held to seek the views and demands of minorities at the grassroots level for inclusion in the party's poll document for the Lok Sabha polls.

The participants at the meet emphasised the need to see to it that "around one lakh Muslims living in relief camps" are sent back to their homes.

Recalling the fears of a young boy he had met at a relief camp in Shamli near Muzaffarnagar, Rahul said, "No person of any community or caste should ever be scared in India. This is a secular country." The boy had told him that he was afraid to return to his village following the riots, Rahul said.

After his visit to relief camps and a Jat village yesterday, the Congress Vice-President had insisted that "mediation" was necessary to ensure that both communities could coexist again.

Riots in September in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar left over 60 people dead and rendered 40,000 homeless.

The meet also saw some plain speaking by the participants who told Rahul that issues concerning the minority community should be decided by talking to representatives on the ground and not just to some Muslim leaders at the top, sources said.

Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan faced some tough questions with participants wondering as to when the government would be implementing schemes for minorities when only three or four months are left on its term.

Meanwhile, stating that the key issue was leadership, Rahul said, "Until we open up processes, until we encourage leadership, problems will not be solved. The problem at all levels is of developing leadership."

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