Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said: "We have been working on the Communal Violence Bill for long. We are waiting for the Cabinet to approve it. Modi wants to twist everything,
raises a controversy over everything."
BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said: "Congress wants to attack the federal system through the Communal Violence Bill. We should bring a bill that ensures and promotes communal harmony. This bill will flare up and make things worse. If I do wrong, why should my whole community suffer?," he asked.
Janata Dal United (JDU) leader K C Tyagi supported the bill, saying it was not against Hindus and must be tabled in the current session of Parliament.
"Modi's opposition to the bill is expected, as he is singularly responsible for the Godhra riots. The bill, however, must be introduced in this session, and the points raised by (Tamil Nadu Chief Minister) Jayalalitha must be addressed to look into the interests of states. This is not against Hindus," Tyagi said.
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, when asked for his comment on the bill, said: "We will definitely pass the bill. This bill will be passed in this session. Modi is doing his work; we will do ours."
BJP leader Jaswant Singh said Modi's comments were in the right spirit and context.
"This is everyone's duty. I have serious objections on the bill," he said.
Congress leader Girija Vyas said: "We have discussed this in the all-party meeting. There are many questions that are being raised on this."
Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said: "What is being proposed to be tabled is an anti-Communal Violence Bill. It is a communal bill. It will disturb the central and state governments."
Minority Affairs Minister K. Rahman Khan said: "If the chief minister of Gujarat has written to the Prime Minister that it (the bill ) is not properly drafted and is also a political move. It is our duty to pass the bill, as it will be of benefit to the people. Only certain states are opposing this bill. I think there is no basis to Modi's argument. I think his comments are unfortunate."
BJP vice president Muktar Abbas Naqvi said: "It is a Communal Vote Bill. They (the government) has brought this bill to target some sections of society."
Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh spokesman Ram Madhav said: " This government, in desperate bid, is showing their sinking political standards. To save itself, it is trying to raise communalism by doing minority politics. It is a harmful political game that the government is indulging in. All political sections oppose this proposition. All the questions raised by (Chief Ministers) Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee and Narendra Modi are valid. This government will not come to power again. The government has given this work to pseudo experts, and is ignoring laws and rules. If the government is honest, let them wait for three months."
Earlier in the day, responding to Modi's criticism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 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 & a recipe for disaster! Timing of Communal Violence Bill is suspicious.
Political considerations & votebank 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 a Legislation has to be implemented by the States, should it not be legislated by the States?"
"If implemented, Communal Violence Bill would fragment society & increase violence. It will have results opposite of the stated objective. Urged PM to seek wider consultation with the states & 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)