Communal Violence Bill should not be for political gain: CPI's Subhashini Ali

Kanpur, Dec. 5 : Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Subhashini Ali said it was extremely wrong to propose Communal Violence Bill to please a particular section of society for political gain.

"If we want communal violence to stop, we have to device ways to make this bill better but, we shouldn't do it just to please a particular section of the society. That is extremely wrong," she said.

Furthermore, she said the Communal Violence Bill was proposed in order to protect the religious and linguistic minorities of a state, as sometimes the chief minister is not able to fulfill this responsibility of doing so. That is what happened in the Godhra and the Sikh riots.

"It is wrong for the BJP to claim that only non-Hindus will be protected through this bill. According to the bill, the religious or linguistic minority in a particular state gets protection. Hindus are also present in minority in states like Punjab and Kashmir, so are the Sikhs and Muslims in many parts of the country," said Ali.

Adding to that, she said there should be some monetary security in the states, in case of communal violence and the people could not be left at the mercy of the state government to provide monetary help when they please.

"It is crucial for the prime minister to protect these people in such a scenario. That's why this bill is being demanded for the past ten years. But, the bill still needs to be revised," she said.

Earlier in the day, responding to Modi's criticism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said it would be his endeavour to develop a broad-based consensus on the proposed legislation.

Dr. Singh was responding to Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate's, letter to him in which the Communal Violence Bill was termed as ill-conceived, poorly drafted and a recipe for disaster.

Modi and the rest of the BJP top brass have claimed that the Bill could vitiate the atmosphere and polarise Indian society.

Modi has joined the chief ministers of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha in opposing the bill which they allege is a violation of India's federal structure.

The 'Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2013' proposes to impose duties on the Centre and state governments and their officers to exercise their powers in an impartial and non-discriminatory manner to prevent and control targeted violence, including mass violence against religious or linguistic minorities, SCs and STs.

The bill also proposes constitution of a body - National Authority for Communal Harmony, Justice and Reparation - by the Centre to exercise the powers and perform the functions assigned to it under this Act. The bill largely sticks to the provisions prepared by Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC).

In a series of tweets this morning, Modi hit out at the UPA Government for pushing ahead with the Communal Violence Bill.

"Communal Violence Bill is ill-conceived, poorly drafted and a recipe for disaster! Timing of Communal Violence Bill is suspicious.

Political considerations and vote bank politics rather than genuine concerns are guiding it," he tweeted.

"Communal Violence Bill is in clear violation of India's federal structure. Centre is busy forming laws on matters that are in the State List. If Legislation has to be implemented by the States, should it not be legislated by the States?"

"If implemented, Communal Violence Bill would fragment society and increase violence. It will have results opposite of the stated objective. Urged PM to seek wider consultation with the states and various stakeholders of the Bill before proceeding any further on a Bill like this," he added.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Modi described the bill as an attempt to encroach upon the authorities of the state governments and sought wider consultation among the various stakeholders such as the state governments, political parties, police and security agencies etc. before any further movement on the issue.

The Gujarat Chief Minister said his government is sensitive to the issue of communal violence and agreed that there is a need to be vigilant on communal violence but the contents and timing of the bill are suspicious.

He brought out the various operational issues in the proposed Prevention of Communal Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2013. He shared various shortcomings in the individual sections of the proposed Bill.

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

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