The Centre is keeping its fingers crossed.
On the one hand, violence showed some signs of containment in Muzaffarnagar on Tuesday with the UP administration on the Centre’s advice calling in the army and transferring tardy officials; but on the other hand, intelligence agencies have warned that besides UP, the next flash points of communal conflagration could be in Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and even Haryana.
Even for UP, the intelligence inputs indicate a tough time ahead, especially in areas like Moradabad, Aligarh, Mathura, Rampur, and Bareilly.
Tonk and Burhan in Rajasthan, Devas and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Madhubani in Bihar are highly vulnerable.
Indicating that there’s a predetermined political design behind the recent communal incidents, the intelligence agencies have warned that the trend may continue till the announcement of the 2014 polls.
At a review meeting last week, cabinet secretary Ajit Seth and Union home secretary Anil Goswami discussed the matter with the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, and Jammu & Kashmir. The states have been asked to increase policing and strengthen intelligence gathering mechanisms through preventive arrests.
The review highlighted the new emerging trend of communal clashes originating in rural areas rather than old urban centres, usually a hotbed of communal conflicts.
“This new phenomenon is proving to be a nightmare for us. Since villages are in remote and far flung areas, response time increases and often the situation gets out of control,” a senior official associated with the review said.
“It is easier to incite people and foment communal tension in rural areas because of lax policing, gullibility and lack of general awareness in comparison to cities and towns. It becomes easier to incite people,” he said.
Fearing that the communal fire could engulf more areas of UP, the Centre has asked the state government to increase rural policing in sensitive communal zones.