PM slams chief minister Akhilesh Yadav for UP riots

Prime Minister Manmohan SinghPrime Minister Manmohan Singh, responding to the recent resurgence of communal violence in India, today said his United Progressive Alliance government is committed to fight forces seeking to weaken the country's secular fabric and promised all efforts to contain them.

At the same time, he said dealing with communal riots was the primary the responsibility of the states. He called upon them to cut communal incidents in the bud, irrespective of the political clout of the perpetrators.

Addressing a meeting of the National Integration Council (NIC) in New Delhi, Prime Minister Singh said, "This meet is significant as it is taking place just after the Muzaffarnagar riots (in Uttar Pradesh), which claimed over 50 lives, rendered thousands homeless and devastated properties worth several hundred crores.''

Even as UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav looked on, the prime minister said, ''This year riots were reported from Kishtwar in J&K and Nawada in Bihar, while Hyderabad has seen intermittent communal trouble in the last couple of years."

Referring specifically to the Muzaffarnagar riots, he said, "Rising incidents of communal violence have been witnessed in Uttar Pradesh. How did small localised incident in UP become a riot?

"It seems anti-national forces are succeeding in deepening the communal divide by taking advantage of small misunderstandings. These forces are inimical to our democratic institutions. We are determined to fight them firmly local administration must take strong action against those responsible for communal violence."

Cautioning political parties against politicising communal issues for electoral gains, the prime minister said, "Communal tension should not be politicised for cheap gains. Any individual from any party involved in violence will be punished."

On the rising cases of violence against women, Singh said, "A nation can only progress when women in the country can go to public places without fear. It is shameful that crime against women is on the rise."

Invitees who skipped the NIC meet included Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, both of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Among others attending the crucial meet are several union ministers, the leaders of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley respectively, and the chief ministers of several states and union territories.