New Delhi: Days after Muzaffarnagar riots, the government has convened a meeting of the National Integration Council (NIC) here on September 23 to discuss how to combat communalism.
The 148-member NIC, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will discuss threadbare the growing menace of communalism, casteism and regionalism and how to deal with them.
Union Ministers, Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Chief Ministers of all states and Union Territories are members of the NIC.
Leaders of national and regional political parties, chairpersons of national commissions, eminent journalists, public figures and representatives of business and women`s organisations are also part of NIC.
The NIC declared its objectives as unity in diversity, freedom of religions, secularism, equality, justice---social, economic and political, and fraternity among all communities, an official release said.
The NIC notes with concern the increase in incidents of communal violence in different parts of the country over the last few years.
The Council emphasises that notwithstanding sporadic communal and other divisive conflicts, the vast majority of common men and women, irrespective of their religious affiliations, live in peace and harmony and have no interest in violence and disorders, the release said.
The NIC wishes to emphasise that this task is not of
governments alone although governments have to play a major role in strengthening the forces of integration and in implementing expeditiously and effectively the recommendations that the Council makes.
This task is the collective responsibility of all citizens-politicians, educationists, artists, writers, teachers, parents and students, intellectuals, businessmen and trade union leaders, the release said.
Set up in early 1960s by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the NIC held its first meeting in 1962.
The last meeting of the NIC was held on September 10, 2011 which discussed issues like communal harmony, measures to curb communalism and communal violence and approach to Communal Violence Bill.
It also discussed issue of radicalisation of youth in the name of religion and caste and how to curb such radicalisation, discrimination, especially against minorities and Scheduled Tribes, and measures to eliminate such discrimination, civil disturbances and how the state and the police should handle civil disturbances.