Stormy NIC meet likely

Vinay Kumar

NEW DELHI: The 14th meeting of the National Integration Council (NIC), convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here for Monday, is likely to be a stormy affair as it meets in the backdrop of anti-Christian violence in Karnataka and Orissa and terror attacks in a number of cities.

Though the official agenda centres on “Social Structure — caste and identity divisions,” economic development, promotion of a feeling of security among vulnerable sections particularly minorities, education, communal harmony and other elements contributing to national integration will also be discussed.

Strict action

The Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Lok Jan Shakti Party, both constituents of the United Progressive Alliance, are likely to press for strict action against the governments of Orissa (where the BJD-BJP combine is in power) and Karnataka (ruled by the BJP), and for a ban on the Bajrang Dal.

The BJP is expected to take on Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh for his views on anti-terror police operations, particularly in New Delhi’s Jamia Nagar.

The last meeting of the reconstituted 141-member NIC was held on August 31, 2005, nearly a year after the Congress-led UPA came to power.

At that meeting, two former Prime Ministers — V.P. Singh and I. K. Gujral — demanded that NIC meet at regular intervals and review the action taken on the recommendations of the high-level body.

Corrections and Clarifications

(A report "Stormy NIC meet likely" (October 12, 2008) said, in thepenultimate paragraph, that "The last meeting of the reconstituted 141member NIC was held on August 31, 2005, nearly a year after the Congress-ledUPA came to power". A reader said that a report "National IntegrationCouncil reconstituted" (February 3, 2005) had mentioned that the UPAGovernment had announced reconstitution of the National Integration Council(NIC) under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and thatthe 103-member NIC has been constituted after a gap of 12 years having heldits last meeting in 1992. So, was the NIC's total number of members 141 or103? The Special Correspondent clarifies that the reconstitution of the NICis a continuous process. After the UPA Government came to power, itreconstituted the NIC and the total number of members, including all ChiefMinisters, went up to 141. However, it was reconstituted days before the14th meeting of NIC on October 13, 2008, by including the Samajwadi Partyleaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh. Thus, the total number of NICmembers stands at 143.)

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