States should punish those who incite communal strife: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday asked parties to refrain from taking advantage out of communal strife and said states should crackdown on elements fanning such violence irrespective of their political affiliations or influence.

Underlining that the onus for preventing communal violence lies with the states, Singh said effective steps should be taken by the administration to ensure that small issues don’t snowball into a big controversy.

“The state government 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 for spreading it,” Singh said inaugurating the 16th National Integration Council meeting here.

“The state should use all means at its disposal to punish those guilty for fanning communal violence and ensure a speedy crackdown on such elements irrespective of their political affiliations or influence,” the Prime Minister said.

“I appeal to parties and media that they should refrain from giving any political colour or taking any political mileage from such incidents,” Singh said.

The Prime Minister said the meeting assumes significance as it was being held in the aftermath of communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar which claimed nearly 50 lives and damaged property worth lakh of crore of rupees.

Singh said the country had witnessed communal clashes recently in Kishtwar area of Jammu and Kashmir, Nawada area of Bihar, Hyderabad and most importantly Uttar Pradesh that has seen an increase in these incidents in the past few months.

“At times, the anti-national forces succeed in creating a communal divide between various sections of people and such forces are a big challenge for the democracy of this country,” the Prime Minister said and called for effective handling of such forces with an iron hand.

Singh said the state governments should make it clear to its officials that “carelessness will not be tolerated” whenever communal tension takes places in their area of jurisdiction.

“They (officials) are answerable in case of any communal tension or violence,” Singh said.

The Prime Minister termed as “unfortunate” the debate as to which party would be benefited during elections in case of communal violence.

“In actual, nobody gets benefits from communal discord. Such things put a question mark on the very existence of a civilised nation like ours,” Singh said.

“I appeal to parties and media that they should refrain from giving any political colour or taking any political mileage from such incidents,” Singh said.

With the global world shrinking because of cyber space social media has been used by some anti-social and anti-national forces to circulate fake videos for creating hatred among communities.

The social media was used to terrorise people in the northeast.

Singh said there was a fine line dividing free use of expression on social media. “While it is necessary to continue the use of social media for strengthening brotherhood, it is equally important to ensure that anti-national elements don’t misuse the medium,” Singh said.

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