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Union minister Athawale appeals to people to maintain peace

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Jammu: Union minister Ramdas Athawale on Saturday appealed to people, especially Muslims, to maintain peace amid widespread protests over recent controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) by two BJP leaders.

The Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment also said the government and police are keeping an eye on those trying to trigger communal violence in the country.

“The BJP has already taken action against the two leaders and therefore, there is no need for an agitation. People need to maintain calm,” Athawale told reporters here.

Without naming Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, who made the controversial remarks on the Prophet (PBUH), he said whatever had happened was not in good taste as the sentiments of people were hurt.

Sharma has since been suspended by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), while Jindal has been expelled.

“There was a communal flare-up in the aftermath of (the demolition of) the Babri Masjid. Then the issue was amicably resolved by the Supreme Court…. We appeal to both the communities to exercise restraint and maintain peace as was the case after the court verdict on the Ram temple,” Athawale said.

He said since the saffron party has already taken action against the two leaders, people need to overcome the hurt sentiments for the overall welfare of the society.

Asked whether there are deliberate attempts to trigger communal tension in the country, the Union minister said the Centre is alive to the situation and is investigating all the incidents.

“The government and police have their eyes on the elements trying to create communal tension and will act in accordance with law,” he added.

Athawale said the Centre wants a peaceful and developed Jammu and Kashmir and is committed to ensuring the progress of the Union Territory on all fronts.

“After the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in 2019, the gates of development have been opened for Jammu and Kashmir, which is evident from the fact that all the centrally-sponsored schemes and programmes are now implemented in Jammu and Kashmir, be it the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the Jan Dhan Yojana, the MUDRA scheme, the Ujjwala Yojana or the scholarship schemes for students, the welfare schemes for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes,” he said.

The Union minister said 100 percent implementation of so many central schemes shows that the Centre is committed to providing social stability on all fronts to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier, Athawale held a review meeting related to the implementation of social welfare schemes in Jammu and Kashmir with the senior officials of the Union territory’s Social Welfare department.

Deal sternly with enemies of peace, harmony: APUM to J&K admin

Jammu-based All Parties United Morcha (APUM) on Saturday appealed to the people to maintain religious harmony and asked the government to deal sternly with the enemies of peace.

The APUM includes the Congress, National Conference and several other non-BJP opposition parties.

“We strongly urge the BJP government at the Centre and J&K administration to take stern action against communal and divisive forces creating hatred in the society and appeal to the people to see through the designs of such forces and maintain religious harmony and peace at all costs,” APUM said in a statement after a meeting here.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Congress, NC, PDP and CPI(M) among others.

The participants expressed serious concerns over the prevailing atmosphere of religious tension, caused due to the “provocative statements and actions of few individuals”.

“The BJP government at the Center allows such forces and individuals to vitiate the atmosphere in the country for political dividends but the entire nation and society as a whole is at great loss,” the statement said.

“The pluralistic country like ours, which is multi religious, multi faiths, and having vast diversities cannot allow such elements and forces to operate in any manner to further their agenda of hatred and division,” it said.

According to the APUM, such communal and divisive forces need to be nipped in the bud by a responsible government and administration but under the present regime such forces are not only out to “destroy our social and secular fabric but create large-scale wedge in the society and cause communal riots”.

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