A divisive law for the society

published on October 19, 2011

RL Francis

 The way allied parties opposed bill on communal violence; government should have recalled it to set the things right. However, government is firm to pass the bill ignoring views of Trinamool Congress and Biju Janata Dal. Union Minister Veerappa Moili has given firm indication about the tough posture of the government.

Indian constitution does not give permission on the basis of such discriminatory things. Despite that government is trying to give legal sanctity to such things. It clearly polarizes society in Hindu and Muslim. Surprisingly, the draft bill has been prepared by Sonia Gandhi led National Advisory Council.  

Recently, Prime Minister had said during the peak Anna Hazare movement that making laws is the duty of Parliament. But, ”Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011” talks vividly about has been made by extra-governmental body. Most of the representatives of the state has outrightly dismissed it. This does not encroach the sovereignty of parliament! The law has been designed to get Muslim votes as it will consolidate Muslim-Christian vote bank.  

Majority community is highly skeptical about this bill. This bill will certainly divide country in two parts- ”Khas” and ”Aam‘‘(Common People).  In the first category Muslim, Christian, scheduled caste and tribes have been included. Since, two national commissions have already been working for Scheduled castes and tribes, so there was no need to include them in the new commission. All people are equal before the law. So, making a law just for a specific community is an anti-national act. This act hits hard on the rights of Hindus.

The Chief opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is of the view that this law seriously endangers federal and secular character of country. This draft, too, has been prepared by people whose secular credentials cannot be said above doubt. Shockingly, majority community has been held responsible for riots in the draft. However, reality is something different. Majority community is inclusive in nature. Hindus has been regarded as violent in nature and law talks about protecting interests of minorities only.

Government is trying to project itself as sole saviour of minorities. Sex related offences will be punishable only when it takes place with minorities during communal riots. Certain Hindu organisations are of the view that even opposition of conversion will be termed as “Harmony disturbing act”. In that way it will only support conversion. If this draft bill becomes law, it will only widen gulf between majority and minority community. Violence should be punishable be it with minority or majority.

A seven membered national authority comprising Chairman, vice-chairman and four-members from minority sections will be formed. Their selection will be done by Prime Minister, leader of opposition, home minister and committee consisting all national parties in the parliament. Many regional parties have opposed the bill as some of the provisions encroach in the rights of state

Both the majority and minority leaders have their own view points on the bill. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Central Executive member Ram Madhav said that the Bill doesn’t deserve to be placed before the Parliament. It should be withdrawn by the National Advisory Council (NAC) forthwith. “Communal harmony is paramount in any country that has multiple religions and communities. We must strive hard to train and educate people in harmonious cohabitation. Where it is necessary we may introduce some laws and regulations also. But all that should promote harmony. The present Bill, unfortunately, will only promote disharmony. With these kind of laws the LeTs and HuJIs across the border need not have to promote terrorism in our territory anymore. All that they need to do is to encourage a minor communal riot and they can achieve what they want – huge rift between the Majority and Minority communities”, he said.

Contrary to this, John Dayal, secretary general, All India Christian Council and Member, National Integration Council said that both the National Advisory Council (NAC) and Union government should resolve the issues concerning federal structure, on which several states have reservations, for the smooth passage of the bill in Parliament.

This bill endangers secular fabric of the nation. Communal feeling will only strengthen. This bill is biased and there is no doubt about it. Instead of passing the bill government should try to create a structure which deters the communal elements in the society. New bureaucratic structure will be created on the name of proposed national authority. There is no need for that.

The author is President, Poor Christian Liberation Movement.

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