via published on November 23, 2011

India is a conglomeration of various castes and communities and we have lived together for so long in harmony” said Sri Arif Mohd.Khan former Union Minister while speaking in a Seminar on “Communal Violence Bill – A threat to National Integrity and Social Harmany” held in Hyderabad on 14th November, (2011) organised by Social Cause & Pragna Bharati combined.  He said that there is no permanent majority or permanent minority and cited the case of Rama Krishna Math at Calcutta who claimed minority status in Calcutta High Court.

A seminar under the aegis of Social Cause (a registered society)and PragnaBharati was held atKeshav Memorial Academic Campus, Hyderabad on 14th November 2011 from 5:30 p.m. on the proposed bill namely, “Preventionof Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparation)Bill 2011. Sri AtreyaSarma vice president of Social Cause introduced the members on the dais who spoke on the occasion.

The speakers were

Sri ArifMohd.Khan, Former union Minister, New Delhi a leading statesman, intellectual,writer, a Muslim progressive and author of bestseller,”Text and Context-Quran and Contemporary Challenges”.

Sri Ram Madhav, Director,IndiaFoundation,Delhi, Director, BhaatPrakashan, Delhi and Member, Central Executive, RSS.

C.Anjaneya Reddy, Formerly of the Indian Police Service.

Sri M.V.R.Sastry, Editor, Andhra Bhoomi.

Dr.T.HanumanChowdary, Chariman, PragnaBharati.

at the outset gave a brief account of constitution of National Advisory Committee which by itself does not fulfil the requirement to have any sanctity under the constitution since it is not constituted under the law. Earlier Communal Violence Bill introduced in 2005 in Parliament was stoutly opposed by Muslim and Christian organisations under the plea that that bill did not provide security to the minorities and wanted another bill by making the Government officials more accountable.Due to their pressure, that bill was withdrawn. A new 14 Member National Advisory Council was formed on 29th March 2010 under the leadership of Smt.Sonia Gandhi to prepare new Bill. A four Member Draft Committee was formed out of which two joint convenors were representatives of anti-Hindus. For advising to this Draft Committee another 19 member group was formed out of which none were there to speak of Hindus nor were there anybody to take all sided view of communal clashes.Dr.Cowdary reminded about the visit of Pope during 2000 to India when he gave a call for large scale expansion of Christians.

He talked about DushtaChatushtayam naming forces representing Terrorists, Maoists, Macaulays and fundamentalists. He said that as per provisions of the draft bill whenever communal disturbances take place, the blame automatically rests on Hindus. As per research conducted by an independent organisation in 2006, most of the communal disturbances were started on Fridays. He expressed anxiety that our great Hindu Dharma is being divided into caste groups. The utterances and behaviour of present day leaders likeDigvijay Singh are looking akin to the men like Jaisingh of bygone era who helped Muslim rulers to invade India.

Dr.Hanuman Chowdary said that one danger of the proposed bill is that the Central Government can straightaway impose President Rule in a State not subservient to it under the pretext of any small communal clash any part of the country. The communal clash can in fact be engineered by the ruling Central Government to get an alibi to dismiss any non-friendly State Government. He gave a call that we should unitedly oppose this bill.

former I.P.S.Officer then spoke and explained that that there is no need for such a bill legally since there are sufficient laws in the country to deal with any type of communal disturbance. Purely for political reasons this bill is drafted. The rule of law directs that all are equal before law but this bill is against that principle. As per Anti-Corruption Bureau regulations permission from the Government is required for taking any action against senior officers and ministers but no permission is required to proceed against junior officers. Thus we are creating privilege groups and special protection for some groups.

Sri Anjaneya Reddy mentioned that when I.P.C. already exists to deal with any type of crime where is the need to for new legislation in the form of Communal Violence Bill. While there are too many laws, there is too little justice. Already Police have powers being vested with 233 State legislations and 210 legislations meaning a total of 443 legislations and where is there is any need for new legislation now? He asked. Police force is not democratic in nature and continues to have colonial character without any change for the last 150 years. Police is working directly under the Government being subordinated and not working independently. He gave the example of political parties like DMK and AIDMK in our neighbouring State Tamilnadu using the police for their selfish purposes. By law and tradition Police is autonomous. But if we look at the way courts supervising the police and executive, we get an impression of barber doing the tailor job and vice-versa. Reforms through National Police Commission are long overdue.

Swift and humane justice are better than delayed harsh justice, Sri Reddy pointed out. Most of the countries in the world have a uniform civil code and India does not have such a code and very few countries have this peculiar situation. At least we have one I.P.C. now and with this bill we will have two I.P.Cs. The only new thing in the proposed bill is about victim compensation and that too with more chances of misuse like payment of compensation without ascertaining whether to pay after conviction or after detection.Another defect in this bill is the power of arrest without investigation and scope for innocents being booked.

Sri Anjaneya Reddy pointed out that with this new bill, we will be creating 3 sections of people, privileged, unprivileged and underprivileged and in any case, there is no need for separate legislation. He cited the case of China where the majority group numbering 90%of its population are homogeneous and 10%are minoritiesand in our country majority group are spilt into various groups. If the new bill is passed, it creates bitterness where there is none. Wherever heterogeneous nature is more, there are more divisions. He thus explained that the bill is unwarranted and should be opposed.

while speaking questioned the sanctity of National Advisory Council and said that it is like any other NGO like Social Cause or PragnaBharati. The Government shirked its responsibility by outsourcing the job of drafting the bill to a committee consisting of 14 intellectuals with Smt.Sonia Gandhi as president who is permanent both in party and committee. Gandhiji made final attempt to avoid partition of India by appealing to Jinnah and conducted series of talks with him for 19 days. Desperate to avoid partition, Gandhiji went to the extent of offering post of Prime Minister to Jinnah in a united India. Jinnah even then turned it down and dubbed it as mischievous by saying that it will be majoritarian India in which he would have no stake. Now shockingly the National Advisory Council through its draft bill contributes to the same view by its inferences of majority religious groups dominating in the country to the detriment of minority groups.

Sri Ram Madhav recalled an interesting debate in a recent T.V.debate wherein the anchor asked the supporter of the bill whether we need a biased law to address to a biased problem. JamaitIslami says that a more strong law is needed to communal violence and says that Hindus also get justice where they are in minority in States like Jammu and Kashmir. It is their ignorance not to knowthat this bill does not apply there due to the special status to J&K. He said that 90 Districts inIndia are dominated by minority groups. There is no place for natural justice since Hindus will not get any protection wherever they are in minority in States like J&k, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Lakshadweep (Union Territory).

Sri Ram Madhav said that there is no chance of impartiality with this bill since as per clause 2(c) and 2(e) only majority groups will resort to communal violence and minority groups alone are victims. As per Chapter II, clause14, the officer will be forced to be biased since he becomes offender even if any of his subordinate officers fails to protect member of minority community. His responsibility is only to stop attack on minority and cannot protect member of majority community even if attacked and can only be a silent spectator in such a case. An accepted principle is that one is innocent until proved guilty; but as per this bill one is guilty until proved innocent. Further as per the bill, mere presumption is evidence and mere knowing and acquaintance with the victim multiplies the guilt.

About implementation of the Act, he said that 7 wise men out of whom 4 should be from minority community (Chairman and Vice Chairman) will supervise and implement this Act. They are nominated and are not questionable by anybody. They are unelected, unaccountable and irremovable. They are so powerful that they cannot be removed till the end of their term.This bill will usurp the State powers, causes harm to national integration& social harmony and destructs federal structure. In case of a clash between S.Cs &S.Ts vs. Minorities, whose side the bill will take remains a confusion. He quoted Kandhamal case in Orissa where the clash occurred between Tribals and converted Christians. He cautioned that there will be a permanent gulf between the two communities if the bill is passed.

This bill will be used as a tool to dismiss the State Governments which are not to the liking of ruling Central Government by invoking Article 355. What a surprise that the bill says India is majoritarian State and Jinnah said India will be a majoritarian State. Sri Ram Madhav reminded as to what happenednow in Egypt where Hosni Mubarak brought a similar bill in early years of this decade. He exhorted that that we should oppose this bill in order to protect communal harmony, constitutional federalism and national integration.

former Union Minister while speaking on the occasion called the proposed bill as a vote-grabbing exercise. He narrated about the circumstances that led to his resignation from the then Union Council of Ministers as a principle in Shah Bano case by supporting the Court Verdict. He opposed the very idea of majority and minority in our country where the Constitution had provided equal rights to all citizens. He further said that he would take it as an abuse if somebody calls him a minority. He said India is a conglomeration of various castes and communities and we have lived together for so long in harmony. He said that there is no permanent majority or permanent minority and cited the case of Rama Krishna Math at Calcutta who claimed minority status in Calcutta High Court. He said that several Telugu people are living in Delhi. He talked of Article15 of the Constitution and also talked of Fundamental rights and Directive Principles of State Policy where there is no scope to create divisions amongst people. He quoted from Tulsidas’sRamayan highlighting our great culture and tradition and about oneness and living in harmony. He spoke about abolition of untouchability and abolition of separate electorate based on religious community. He scoffed at the division of people as majority and minority and hoodwinking in the pretext of protection and later on getting away without doing anything worth. Sri ArifMohd.Khan even showed objection to the names like “Minority Finance Corporation” wherever appearing.

Stoutly opposing the bill, Sri ArifMohd.khan apprehended that it is bound to poison the minds of one section of people in the country against another section, whether it is made an Act or not.He termed the bill as a brazen vote-grabbing exercise by dividing the society and warned that any attempt to divide the people will be thwarted. Mr.Khan said that though the bill was aimed at providing access to justice to the victims of communal violence, the motive behind is not difficult to know and that is to pit one section against the other as taught by the colonial British Rulers.

Sri Khan said that civil law is not same since we do not have uniform civil code in our country and with this bill becoming an Act criminal law also will not be same for all and hence this bill cannot stand judicial scrutiny. He further cautioned that the scars going to be created by the bill would remain for long and expressed hope that Parliament was strong enough to amend laws if they proved to be counter-productive.

Sri Khan concluded by saying that any attempt to introduce this bill will be a bad tradition and shameful and if we do not take lessons from history, history will not forgive us.

speaking on the occasion recalled the vision of Sri Shyam Prasad Mukerji who opposed the separate constitution for Jammu & Kashmir. Without a common civil code in the country and if the proposed bill becomes an Act, Sri Sastry cautioned that it would lead to two Constitutions in the same country. He pointed out fundamental defect in the bill because if any clash takes place between two communities, the person or group belonging to majority will be sent to jail irrespective of who engineered the attack by treating him as offender. The Police station officer can take action under two laws though the offence is only one. Any person or a public servant participating in a function with VandeMataram song or providing resources for such events can be in trouble in case a minority person complains that he is hurt with this song.

Sri M.V.R.Sastry said that in 7000 years of ourhistory, this country had 1000 years of Muslim rule and 150 years of British rule and never during their regimes, they had created distrust amongst the people. There is no discrimination whatsoever between any one based on caste, creed or religion. That being the case, the bill will create a situation where stories can be concocted against members of majority group member that they are doing hate propaganda and can be put in jail. If such ugly plans through such bills are not checked, it will lead to a serious blow to our national integration and social harmony and we should resist and oppose any such move.

With vote of thanks proposed by Sri N. NagarajaRao, the seminar was concluded.

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