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Sep 24, 2013 at 12:52am IST

Political leaders take on BJP at NIC meet over Muzaffarnagar riots

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday chaired the National Integration Council (NIC) meet in New Delhi. Most of the BJP's Chief Ministers including Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi skipped the meet. The conference was billed to debate communal violence in the wake of Muzaffarnagar riots and integrate political class against communal politics.

"I request all the political parties and media to help us end communalism in the country," said Manmohan Singh.

However, the NIC meet turned out to be a platform to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for playing politics over the communal riots.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minster Omar Abdullah, while taking a dig at BJP, asked that if the BJP leaders, who wanted to visit Kishtwar should be called communal tourist since they billed those visiting Muzaffarnagar as secular tourists. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh blamed BJP general secretary Amit Shah of trying to turn Uttar Pradesh into another Gujarat. While Bihar Chief Nitish Kumar, who broke up from the NDA a few months back, spoke of inclusive growth and demanded that all weapons should be banned from the religious yatras.

As BJP was under attack, one of the party's best orators and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was conspicuous in his absence.

"If communal harmony figures on his agenda, Modi should have come," said Union Minster Manish Tiwari.

Meanwhile, the another challenge before the council was a control on social media. Both the prime minister and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav mentioned the use of social media in Muzaffarnagar to incite violence though no ready solution was available on how to tackle the menace.

The NIC met after a break of two years but politics and no integration seemed to be the center piece of the deliberations. The 2014 elections are just a few months away but it seems that no party has an idea on how to stop a repeat of Kishtwar or Muzaffarnagar.