Muzaffarnagar riots a blot on country: Nitish Kumar

New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Friday termed the communal violence in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar a blot on the country.

"The Muzaffarnagar (UP) riots were a blot on the country. Just as the 1989 Bhagalpur riots (Bihar) and the 2002 Gujarat riots were," Nitish Kumar said.

"India's unity in diversity is the idea of India and anything against it would defy that idea," he said while delivering a lecture on the "Idea of India" organised by the National Commission for Minorities at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library auditorium here.

Taking a dig at Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial nominee and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's plank of development and governance, Nitish Kumar, without naming him, said "there can be no good governance if it is divisive or non-inclusive".

"What good is the claim of good governance if it creates communal barriers and divides society?," he said.

In June this year, his party Janata Dal-United parted ways with the BJP after Modi's projection as the campaign chief for the 2014 national polls.

Hinting at Modi, who had refused to wear a cap given by a Muslim cleric earlier, Nitish Kumar said besides "taking all sections of society together, one has to respect symbols also and sometimes wear a cap or sport a 'tilak' (a mark on the forehead)."

Referring to the hype that has been created around Modi's nomination as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate and his projection as a "national saviour", Nitish Kumar said, "This is not a natural wave but an artificial one."

Stressing that "communal harmony was key to peace, social equity and development," he said, "the state must maintain a constant vigil against any attempt to tear the social fabric of the country."

"The test of a government," Nitish Kumar said is that "it should work for all sections of society and should be seen by the people as such".

"Response time in riots must be swift followed by delivery of justice and rehabilitation of victims," he said, citing the example when his government reopened the 1989 Bhagalpur riots cases and provided justice and relief after several years of the incident.

Providing opportunity to the deprived is a way to achieve social equality, said Nitish Kumar, who is serving his second term on the plank of development in one of India's most backward states.

"We should not fight each other but fight hunger and poverty," he said while listing many social welfare schemes run by his government.

"The idea of India would prevail," he added.

--Indo-Asian News service

aag/rr/vt

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