BJP opposes communal violence bill, government firm

New Delhi, Dec 5 : The BJP Thursday firmly opposed the communal violence prevention bill with its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi terming it "as a recipe for disaster". The government, however, said the legislation will be tabled during the winter session of parliament.

Modi said he wrote to Prime Minister Mamohan Singh on the issue, while Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde made it clear that the bill will be brought during the winter session.

The prime minister, however, said the government would try to build consensus on matters of legislative importance.

"It will be our effort to get broad-based consensus on all matters of great legislative importance," he said in response to a query about Modi's opposition to the bill.

Talking to reporters ahead of the opening of the winter session Thursday, he also urged all parties to ensure a smooth session, which ends Dec 20.

The Communist Party of India and Bahujan Samaj Party Thursday favoured a wider consensus on the bill before it was brought to parliament.

The Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, which aims at protecting minorities from targeted attacks, has all along been opposed by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Modi, in a string of tweets Thursday, said he had written to the prime minister opposing the bill and also questioning its timing.

"Communal violence bill is ill-conceived, poorly drafted and a recipe for disaster! My letter to PM opposing this bill. Have urged the prime minister to seek wider consultation with the states and various stakeholders of the bill before proceeding any further on a bill like this," he said.

"Political considerations and vote bank politics rather than genuine concerns are guiding the bill. The timing of the bill is also suspicious," he said.

Modi also contended the bill would violate India's federal structure, "fragment society and increase violence", and lead to "results opposite of the stated objective".

Shinde, however, maintained the bill will be brought during the winter session.

"We will bring the communal violence bill this session, Modi can keep doing his work," he said.

CPI leader D. Raja said there are some issues in the bill.

"It is said this bill overrules the state powers. Then, in case of victims also, there is some issue. I do not think this bill can be brought in the house," he said.

BSP chief Mayawati said there should be a consensus on the bill before it is brought to parliament.

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the bill was a conspiracy to divide the nation while another party leader, Shahnawaz Hussain, alleged that though the Congress calls itself secular, "all riots happen in their regime".

Home ministry officials said that many of the concerns expressed by opposition parties have already been addressed in the revised bill.

They said the revised legislation was neutral to any community and the central government was not hitting at the federal structure. The bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2005.

--IANS (Posted on 05-12-2013)

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