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Posted Online on Wednesday 31, August 2005 03:55 IST

MOEMIN's letter to PM on National Integration Council

26 August 2005

Respected Mr. Prime Minister,

I take this privilege to congratulate you for convening the meeting of the reconstituted National Integration Council on 31 August 2005. In the aftermath of Gujarat pogrom, when the then Government, for the reason best known to them, refused to convene the NIC meeting, the civil society took the initiative in their hands and constituted 'Peoples Integration Council' (PIC) and resolves on number of issues. One of the aspiration of the delegates and members of the PIC was the immediate reconstitution of the defunct National Integration Council and to fight, with all sincerity, the fascist tendencies of the divisive forces perpetuated by the establishment. When the masters of the nation rejected and dethroned the forces who had mutely watched the rise of hate campaign against the voices for plural society and minorities, the pluralistic society had hoped for a better future for a secular democratic and pluralistic society, the minorities and the underprivileged and had welcomed the reconstitution of the NIC in the beginning of the year. Unfortunately it pains to mention that the document sent to the members of NIC lack facts and clarity and needs urgent reconstruction. A large number of members strongly feel that the circulated document is contrary to aspiration of millions of the ordinary people who had opposed the fascist forces with full determination and zeal. In the circulated document under the title 'the Communal situation in the Country', the Gujarat pogrom is mentioned and projected in an ordinary way of a communal riot, which is contrary to the facts. For weeks un armed innocent citizens were killed, forced to leave their ancestral homes, rendered homeless, women gang rapped and perpetuators of the crimes were patronized by the establishment but unfortunately it does not find place in the document. The quoted figures of the deceased and injured in the Gujarat pogrom are also un-acceptable. Nearly all-national and international agencies had put the figure of dead between 1600 and 2000. The violence against Muslims and economic boycott of the community in number of areas of the State of Rajasthan also does not figure in the report. Incidentally three days back only, during its visit to the State of Rajasthan, Justice Rajendra Sachar, the Chairman of High level Committee of your office, in a Press Conference, has categorically pointed out the spread of communal venom against the Muslims in the State and their social and economic boycott and also the migration of poor Muslim community from number of areas in Rajasthan. The report is totally silent about the trishul distribution ceremonies organized in Rajasthan to disturb peace and flare up communal passions. In the document, Christian Community is nearly blamed for the communal flare up and disturbances in number of places for organising the conversions but it is totally silent on the issue of the forced re-conversion campaign of the fascist forces and their false propaganda against minorities.

The document is totally silent about the distortion of the history in curriculum and saffronisation of the textbooks by the previous regime and the curriculum with factual errors, distortion of historical facts and hate material against minorities still enforced in number of states ruled by the Sangh's political wing. After horrific Jabalpur Riots in 1961, the pluralistic society was shaken and the visionary Prime Minister Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru strongly felt that the fraternity, one of the trio pillars of the nation state, needs urgent attention and therefore a need to constitute the National Integration Council was felt. The Concept of the constitution of the NIC was to fight the religion based nationalism. For a strong and integrated society it is necessary that all sections of society feel that they are part of the nation. Now when the NIC is meeting after a long gap of nearly more than 12 years, it is strongly felt that there is an urgent need to take following steps for structurising and institutionalizing the NIC, in true spirit, so that it plays an effective and important role in building an integrated and pluralistic society of strong diverse secular India.

1. Constitutional and Statutory status to NIC A) Adopting a mission statement based on the concept of humanistic integration of religious, linguistic, ethnic-cultural, racial and regional groups, while affirming, the rich diversity as a source of strength. B) Permanent Secretariat of the NIC C) Establishing a statutory Community Relation Commission (CRC) for prevention, resolution and management of all inter group, Ethnic, linguistic and religious conflicts/ disputes; reviewing all teaching materials and media coverage on issues related to communal discord and taking steps for rectification and action under law if and when required; entrusting responsibility for enforcing laws on hate speech and other preventive measures like regulating political parties. The NIC to serve as an apex body for the CRC but having its own permanent Commission functioning under its Act. 

2. Steps needs to be undertaken by NIC for consideration a) Re organization of the Police force to function independently as an impartial law enforcing agency as recommended by the National Police Commission (1979-1981). b) Training of Police to eradicate communal biases and prejudices. c) Provisions in the service rules of senior District Administration and Police officers making them responsible for prevention and timely control of any rioting/ social disorder failure of which should attract penal provisions after due enquiry by the Standing Enquiry Commission appointed by the Office of Prime Minister in consultation with leader of the opposition, chairman of NHRC & NCM for fixing the responsibility of the political executive, administration and the police for failure to prevent the communal flare-up and inter group / mass violence. d) Enactments of laws on hate speech and writings more effective.

e) A law on Rights of victim of violence to be enacted for adequate compensation and complete rehabilitation and protection of Riot victims. f) Establishment of a judicial tribunal by an Ordinance to review and settle all claims of the victims of the pogrom and communal riots since 1980. g) Enactment of the Central Law on Prevention of Genocide/ Crime against humanity under Article 355 of the Constitution.

3. The National Integration Council should immediately recommend the formation of Equality Commission for ensuring right to equality and non-discrimination to all citizens. 

It is earnestly requested to sympathetically consider the above raised points. With respectful regards

Navaid Hamid 
Member, National Integration Council 
General Secretary, MOEMIN, New Delhi

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