Govt includes extremism, communal harmony in NIC agenda

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New Delhi, Oct 12 (UNI) In view of the criticism over the omission of the issue of terrorism from the National Integration Council meeting tomorrow, the government today revised the agenda, including extremism as one of the issues to be discussed at the meet.

The revised agenda note, circulated by the Home Ministry late in the evening, includes 'extremism' as one of the issues along with communal harmony and promotion of feeling of security among minorities and other vulnerable sections of the society.

The decision to include extremism as an agenda item at the meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been taken as the Opposition BJP and its allies had criticised the government's move to exclude terrorism from the purview of the meeting.

NIC is likely to be stormy as it would set the agenda for the coming Assembly elections in five states.

The UPA government want to focus on the violence against minorities in Orissa and Karnataka at the NIC, while the Opposition NDA wants to launch an offensive against the 'Centre's soft approach to terrorism' which has resulted in many terrorist attacks in various parts of the country in past few years.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who is already facing flak from both the opposition BJP and the UPA allies like RJD and SP, would have the difficult job of giving explanation about the government's failure to check terrorism.

The Prime Minister who has described attacks on the minorities as a national shame, would like Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik and his Karnataka counterpart B S Yeddyurappa to explain what steps they have taken to curb the violence against minorities in these two states.

The issue of banning ultra-nationalist organisation like Bajrang Dal, which have been blamed for the violence against the minorities, would also come up at the meeting as many political parties like RJD, Samjawadi Party and a section of ruling Congress have demanded it.

The other issues to be discussed at the day-long meeting includes- 'social structure, caste and identity, division and rhetoric''.

'Promotion of education among the minorities, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes' will also be discussed at the NIC meet tomorrow.

The meeting is also likely to discuss the recent global economic recession and its impact on Indian economy and markets. This was evident as the agenda for the meeting include 'Economic Development -- Equitable development and removal of regional imbalances.' The NIC, which was reconstituted by the UPA government after coming to power, could also discuss 'Other elements contributing towards national integration.' It is meeting after a gap of over three years as its last meeting was held in August, 2005.


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