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Posted Online on Friday 2, September 2005 11:20 IST

Modi SMS misuses Prime minister's name 

The Milli Gazette (online edition)

PRESS RELEASE

Dr. Manmohan Singh
The Prime Minister
India

September 1, 2005

Sub: National Integration Council Meeting August 31, 2005 A Note from Concerned NIC Members

Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh,

We would like to congratulate you for your assurances to minorities and civil society in your address to the first meeting of the reconstituted National Integration Council on August 31, 2005.

We appreciate the three points that you emphasized- formation of a standing committee to assess the ground reality on the communal situation in the country, revision of the relief package for the victims of the Gujarat pogrom and a fresh approach to the North East to dispel their alienation. These are welcome prepositions and we hope that the government will implement them urgently.

Civil society members were however dismayed at the general discourse at the NIC meeting dominated by the chief ministers and overbearing protocol which effectively stifled the voice of the grass root workers. This allowed the Chief Ministers to read out their annual report cards as they do at the meetings of the National Development Council. In fact several of them got away with outrageous statements against minorities particularly Muslims, Christians and Dalits without being challenged by government members. It is a matter of grave concern that the Chief Minister of Gujarat has sent out SMS messages [mobile text messages] today using your name to endorse his government's action on Gujarat relief work.

Though the pernicious and communal Agenda Papers have been declared to have been scrapped on the insistence of the civil society and Left members, it is still relevant to investigate how such a draft found its way into the NIC agenda if it was as described by the Home Minister only " a scrap of paper'.

We are also distressed that the media briefing did not reflect: 1. The thrust of your concluding speech and the three points suggested by you as mentioned above; 2. Concerns of the civil society members;
3. Scrapping of the agenda papers.

We take this opportunity to urge you to set up a standing committee consisting of civil society and Union Council of Ministers, to ensure that NIC meets at least twice a year, formation of a regular secretariat so that NIC members can keep government informed of their concerns and the ground situation on a regular basis.

We are sure that your assurance on the Gujarat relief and rehabilitation package would implement with no further delay.

Yours sincerely

Shabnam Hashmi, John Dayal, Navaid Hamid
Members NIC

4, Windsor Place, New Delhi-110001
Tel ++91-11 23327266 / 67; +91-9811807558

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