Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: A meeting of the National Integration Council (NIC) which was called by the Center to discuss how to combat communalism and casteism in the wake of the Muzaffarnagar riots, which claimed at least 40 lives began here on Monday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is chairing the meeting of the NIC and is expected to discuss threadbare the growing incidents of communal violence.
Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP`s 2014 PM candidate Narendra Modi has decided to skip the crucial meet. Meanwhile, BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has also decided not to attend the meet.
Among others attending the crucial meet are Union Ministers, Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Chief Ministers of several States and Union Territories.
The NIC has nearly 150 members.
The NIC meeting assumes significance as the country has witnessed 451 incidents of communal violence till August-end this year, in comparison to 410 incidents last year.
Meanwhile, normalcy returned to the riot struck areas of Muzaffarnagar and the curfew was relaxed from 7 am to 7 pm in the city on Sunday.
Scores of senior officials, including Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Arun Kumar and others, are constantly camping in trouble-hit Muzaffarnagar.
The Uttar Pradesh Government has constituted a one-member judicial commission to probe Muzaffarnagar violence, which claimed at least 40 lives.
The commission, which would mainly look into administrative lapses, if any, in controlling the violence, would submit its report to the government within two months.
The proposed Communal Violence Bill, opposed by some states as it envisages empowering the central government to send central forces unilaterally in case of communal disturbances, is also expected to be discussed in the meeting.
Steps taken to tackle crimes against SCs/STs, associating all sections of society in removing inter-caste tension will also be discussed in the day-long meeting convened after two years.
With Agency inputs