Charging that some main political parties are trying to “dangerously” disturb the communal harmony in Uttar Pradesh ahead of Lok Sabha polls, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday warned such forces of stringent action.
He also demanded that the Centre put in place a mechanism to check misuse of social media and mobile phones to fan communal tension. “At present, it seems that some of the main political parties are trying to dangerously harm the communal harmony of the state in view of 2014 general elections. Efforts are on (by them) to polarise people of the state,” Mr. Yadav said during a meeting of National Integration Council (NIC) in New Delhi.
He said small incidents like vehicle accidents, eve teasing, which can be sorted out at local or panchayat level, are being converted into big problems by vested interests.
Talking about the violence in Muzaffarnagar, he said strict action will be taken against those found to be involved in it.
As per the 2011 census, Uttar Pradesh has a population of about 20 crore and Muslim community forms 18.5 per cent of it. “One out of five individuals in UP is a Muslim who has been living peacefully in the state known for its ‘ganga-jamuni’ tehzeeb (people of all faith living together)”, he said.
“But from the past decades, efforts are being made to disturb communal harmony which has resulted in riots,” Mr. Yadav said.
He termed the demolition of Babri masjid some years back as a pre-conceived conspiracy by vested interest in order to harm communal harmony.
“Demolition of Babri masjid demolition is a black chapter in the history of country and state’s communal harmony,” the Chief Minister said, adding his top priority is to ensure peace and harmony in Uttar Pradesh.
Mr. Yadav said some political parties tried to raise communal tension over some incidents due to vested interest which resulted in the Muzaffarnagar violence.
Communal tension was being spread in rural areas also to disturb peace and harmony but the authorities immediately took necessary steps and deployed army in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli area and controlled the situation, he said, adding 2,255 people, including elected members, have been arrested in this connection.
In the name of making Shri Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had organised so-called ‘84 kosi yatra’ from August 25 to September 13. The traditional ‘yatra’ has already been conducted between April 25 to May 20 and there was no basis for VHP to organise it later, he said. “It (84 kosi yatra) was done to take political mileage by disturbing communal harmony of the state,” he charged.
Mr. Yadav charged that the proposed ‘panch kosi parikrama’ between September 22 to October 13 is also an attempt to disrupt the peace and harmony of the state. “It is utmost important that all groups in society and political parties realise their responsibility and contribute towards peace process,” the Chief Minister said.
The state has experienced difficulty in maintaining law and order due to objectionable content being transmitted through social media. There is no mechanism to check it, he noted.
“It is necessary that Internet and mobile service providers have the capacity to restrict transmission of SMS, MMS and emails through these mediums,” he said.
These companies should have a technology to trace origin of such objectionable contents. “If they do not have such capacity then they must develop them. I request Government to take immediate step in this regard,” Mr. Yadav said.
In the backdrop of the BJP highlighting the Gujarat development model of its Prime Ministerial candidate Modi, Kumar said that along with good governance and progress, “we will also have to strengthen a culture wherein India’s plurality and diversity are vibrantly represented".
“In my view, the foundation of a progressive India is communal amity, social harmony and inclusive growth. Until we do not strengthen the tapestry of communal amity and social harmony, we cannot have economic development on enduring basis. We will need to adopt an inclusive approach to all sections of our people,” he said.
Mr. Kumar also flagged the issue of low representation of minorities in police and armed forces and the need for their overall social, educational and economic upliftment.
Referring to a number of measures taken by his government in Bihar in this regard, he suggested that the Centre organise awareness camps for careers in armed forces in minority concentrated districts and hold special recruitment rallies.
He also focused on the issue of safety and security of women and underlined the need for “extra-ordinary measures".
Mr. Kumar also talked about the need to empower sub-castes among the Scheduled Castes grouped together as “Mahadalits” and the setting up of Mahadalit Commission by his government.
The measures for educational and economic upliftment of SCs have not fully percolated to all strata and there are sub—castes which “remain largely untouched by the benefits of reservation in jobs and other such welfare measures,” he noted.
Coming back to the issue of communal amity, he said co-existence and harmony cannot be compromised and “we will have to be vigilant against those seeking to unravel this national consensus...all political parties have a crucial role in this scenario”.