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Millennium Post

Contain communalism

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday took up a discussion on communalism. One doesn’t recall in recent history that the issue has been debated in parliament as law and order is a state subject and matters related to it cannot be discussed in central legislature unless and until the state was under central rule.

The treasury benches agreed to a discussion, the demand for which was first raised by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, as matter of quid pro quo to allow smooth passage of the judge’s appointment bill in the Lok Sabha. To ensure that it did not violate the provisions of the rulebooks, the discussion , under section 193, was captioned as ‘need for more effective mechanisms to deal with communal violence’ and not as a matter of law and order related to any state.

It was unlikely that from such a debate any mechanism to deal with communal violence would evolve and it did not evolve. However, it’s seldom that dialogue and discussion bear no fruits and the debate on Wednesday too had its positive takeaways. The animated discussion on Wednesday had the parties on the two sides of the political divide washing dirty linen in full public view albeit using forceful parliamentary vocabulary. It for once made clear that how communal tension and minority appeasement have been used by the parties across the political divide for electoral harvest.

The sharpest criticism of the policies followed by the Congress came from Tathagatha Satpathy of the Biju Janata Dal, who said, ‘we have had a National Integration Council, which meticulously, assiduously UPA-I and UPA-II made it into a joke and destroyed the very fibre of that organisation.’.

Through his criticism, Sathapathy, in fact, went on to expound that we need to strengthen our existing mechanisms to fight the communal virus than that a fresh search for it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose image his political rivals have repeatedly tried to besmirch holding him responsible for communal riots in Gujarat, must take a leaf out of BJP MP’s speech.

The nation needs to revive Upanishadic philosophy of Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah; Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah; Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu; Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet, meaning May All become Happy, May All be Free from Illness, May All See what is Auspicious, May no one Suffer.

The nation needs to contain the communal virus if it wants to move on the path of development and prosperity. This can be achieved by not having just an effective law and order machinery to contain violence but political parties too giving up their communal agendas, be it of promoting majoriticism or minority appeasement. The Narendra Modi government must revive the functioning of National Integration Council, to get all stakeholders on board from all walks of life to commit themselves to fight the simmering wound.

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