New Delhi, Sept. 21: The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) chairperson, Wajahat Habibullah, today said he would urge the Prime Minister to ensure speedy rehabilitation of Muzaffarnagar riot victims at Monday’s National Integration Council (NIC) meeting.
“According to official figures, nearly 44,500 Muslims have been displaced from their villages and have taken shelter in nearby schools and mosques in Muslim-dominated villages. I will urge the Prime Minister to take up the matter with the Uttar Pradesh government so that they can be rehabilitated soon,” Habibullah told The Telegraph.
The NIC, which is headed by the Prime Minister, has 147 members, including Union ministers, leaders of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, chief ministers of all states, chairpersons of national commissions, eminent journalists, public figures, and representatives from business and women’s organisations.
An NCM team led by Habibullah visited the riot-torn districts a couple of days ago and spoke to people living in makeshift camps.
“People have been rendered refugees in their own land and are feeling very unsafe. Many of them do not want to go back to their villages because of the bloodshed. They told us they would return only after the perpetrators are brought to book,” the chairperson said, adding the riots were the worst example of polarisation of voters on communal lines by political parties.
He blamed the Akhilesh Yadav government for not taking preventive measures in the wake of provocative speeches made by several politicians.
“It would not have spread in villages had the state government been alert and showed alacrity on the ground. It’s very unfortunate that people were killed and several houses were torched by the rioting mob…” he said, adding he would take up the matter with Akhilesh at the council meeting.
The violence that started in the first week of this month left 48 dead and several injured.
The commission is preparing a detailed report on what led to the communal tension and the role played by local politicians. It will be submitted to the PMO early next month.
“Based on its findings, the commission will make some recommendations which will be sent to the Uttar Pradesh government for appropriate action,” Habibullah said.
A minority official said that on the NIC meeting agenda were measures to curb communalism and communal violence, promote communal harmony, eliminate discrimination against minorities and scheduled tribes. It would also discuss guidelines for the state and the police to handle such riots and curb radicalisation of youth in the name of religion and caste.
The Communal Violence Bill will also be discussed at the meeting.
The last meeting of the NIC was held in New Delhi on October 13, 2008.
The NIC was set up in the early 1960s by Jawaharlal Nehru. It held its first meeting in 1962. The council reviews matters relating to national integration and makes recommendations.