Punjab, Tamil Nadu attack Cong's 'communal stance'

NIC meet: Both states question govt for rewarding 'killer' politicians instead of prosecuting them
Last Updated 23 September 2013, 20:56 IST

On a day when the National Integration Council (NIC) meeting was dominated by the recent Muzaffarnagar communal riots, the Akali Dal-BJP government of Punjab turned the tables on the Congress-led UPA government, questioning it for “rewarding” the “killer” politicians instead of prosecuting them for the 1984 massacre of innocent Sikhs. 

The other non-UPA-ruled states, which criticised the Centre for taking a moral high ground on communal harmony, included Tamil Nadu with its Chief Minister J Jayalalitha assailing UPA for encroaching on the federal structure by setting aside preventive detention orders for political considerations”.

Jayalalitha, who did not attend the meeting, said in her circulated speech that the nosediving economic growth and persistent high inflation due to the “gross macro-economic mismanagement by the UPA government at the Centre have also no doubt contributed to social tensions”.

Representing Punjab at the 16th NIC meeting, state information and public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia on Monday pointed out that the “failure to punish those guilty of the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in the national capital and rewarding killers with high offices was not the best way to promote peace, harmony and national integration”.

Some senior Congress leaders, who are still facing charges of inciting mobs to kill Sikhs, include Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler.

“The failure of the system to deliver justice even after 30 long years has caused deep resentment and led to a dangerous alienation. Such issues needed to be addressed with utmost seriousness by the National Integration Council, which by its very definition was the perfect forum to bring about the emotional integration of our people by assuaging their hurt sentiments,” Majithia said.

Punjab is one of the few states which has not witnessed communal or caste riots post-partition in 1947.

Maintain public order

Tamil Nadu too claimed that the state has been free of communal and other violence which is largely due to uncomprising support to police in maintaining law and order.

Though Tamil Nadu  has been detaining people to maintain public order, “there is a noticeable and unwelcome development wherein the government of India, for ostensibly political considerations, is setting aside orders issued by the state government”, Jayalalitha charged.

“We consider that this is an unncecessary encroachment upon the state’s powers and will seriously compromise maintenance of public order,” she said in her speech.

What they said

* State governments should lose no time to control communal violence sternly. The local administration should prevent a small issue from snowballing into a huge controversy and arrest those responsible.
    - Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister
* The Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill was discussed earlier. We will bring it soon.
    - Sushilkumar Shinde, Union home minister
* We must ask whether competitive politics should necessarily lead to a passionate persuasion of a divisive agenda. Doing so may deliver short gains for some, but it eventually leads to weakening of basic premise of our nation.
    - Nitish Kumar, Bihar chief minister
* If you see the facts of these glib talkings, you will see that BJP-ruled states do not nurture religion as vote bank. These states have been free of communal riots in the last decade because they do not indulge in politics of separation and neither the administration has been compelled to take sides.
    - Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh chief minister
* At present, it seems that some political parties are trying to harm communal harmony in view of general elections. Efforts are on by them to polarise people.
    - Akhilesh Yadav – Uttar Pradesh chief minister
* Of late, there is a noticeable and unwelcome developm­ent wherein the Centre, for ostensibly political considerations, is setting aside orders issued by the state government.
    - Jayalalitha – Tamil Nadu chief minister

(Published 23 September 2013, 20:51 IST)

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