New Delhi: Slamming the BJP government for a "rise in communal tension", Congress leader KRahman Khan has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should send a strong message to those disturbing social harmony by enacting tougher laws to deal with such cases.
"There is a rise in communal tension under the BJP rule. Riots happened earlier also but then they simmered at local levels. After the BJP government came into power, elements and organisations related to his party are making statements which are promoting communalism.
"It seems that they are receiving support from people inside the government," he alleged.
The former minority affairs minister suggested that Modi's failure to speak out about the incidents risked encouraging aggressive behaviour by such fringe elements and organisations.
"The prime minister's words and deeds do not match. He needs to come out strongly against such comments. He should send a strong message to those trying to hamper the communal harmony in the country," he said.
Khan's remarks come in the wake of media reports suggesting that the country saw a near 25 per cent increase in incidents of communal violence in the first five months of this year compared to the corresponding period of the previous year when the UPA was in power.
Khan also pitched for introduction of the Communal Violence Bill in Parliament.
"India has a dark history of communal violence. To curb such incidents, deterrent measures are needed including legal ones... The Centre should take steps for enacting stronger laws. A bill for this purpose should be tabled in Parliament," he said.
"My view has always been that riots should be controlled through tougher laws only," he said.
Referring to the Communal Violence Bill brought during the previous UPA regime, Khan said, "The bill would have effectively controlled riots... It was in favour of all."
Several state governments had objected to the bill claiming it as another attempt to curtail the jurisdiction of the states. BJP had called it "anti-majority".
He also claimed that Minority Affairs Ministry, under Nejma Heptullah, "achieved nothing" in the past 14 months.
"I had pushed for Wakf boards but now nothing has been done in this regard," he alleged.
"If they had continued the work started by us, it would have been sufficient," he said.