Centre tells 7 states to be alert on possible riots communal riots

The Centre on Friday asked seven states, including Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Karnataka, to be alert against communal polarisation leading to violence ahead of the general elections. The states have been asked to firmly deal with such situations.

The chief secretaries and DGPs of UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) were called for a meeting in New Delhi by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth and were asked to stay alert.

The states were asked to nip in the bud chances of a communal flare-up. They were also instructed to strengthen intelligence-gathering mechanism and resort to preventive detention to maintain law and order.

The officials were also asked to analyse the reasons behind such incidents and to prepare a roadmap on how to deal with such situations and take remedial measures so that no petty incident takes communal colour. The meeting came against the backdrop of communal flare-up in J&K and UP in recent months.  Authorities believe that some sections may try to indulge in communal polarisation to benefit in the upcoming general elections.

The security establishment fear that there would be an increase in such incidents in the coming months.

Seth told the meeting, also attended by Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami and other senior officials, that there were reports of communal polarisation in some parts of the country and it had to be checked immediately else it may vitiate the nation’s social fabric. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had expressed concern over the spurt in communal violence and had asked officials to take appropriate steps.

In a speech last month, Singh said: “Few days ago, there was communal violence in the country. From that we should take lessons that there should never be laxity in the efforts to stop communal forces. We have to oppose such communal forces all the time, at all levels, whether it is in daily life or during elections.”

The country witnessed 451 incidents of communal violence till August 31 as against 410 incidents last year. Violence in Kishtwar, J&K, and the aborted Kosi Parikrama Yatra by VHP leaders in UP had tested the authorities nerves last month.

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