Government gives a push to Communal Violence Bill
The Communal Violence Bill, which has been hanging fire for some years, is getting a fresh push from the Government.
New Delhi/Srinagar: The controversial Communal Violence Bill, which has been hanging fire for some years, is getting a fresh push from the Government with one Union minister even pitching for its introduction in the Winter Session of Parliament.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said work has begun on moving ahead with the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill that aims to protect minorities from targeted attacks.
"I have sought details of the bill from the concerned department," he told reporters in Delhi..
Asked whether the bill will be tabled in the next session of Parliament, expected to begin November-end, Shinde said he was not sure. "But yes, work has started on it," he said.
Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan while noting that Muzaffarnagar riots had underlined inadequacies in existing laws to deal with such clashes pitched for introduction of the Bill in the Winter Session.
Asked if UPA would table the Bill in the next session of Parliament, Khan said that he was in its favour "but the decision has to be taken by the government".
A law on the lines of the Bill would have fixed accountability for Muzaffarnagar riots and helped victims who are still waiting for rehabilitation, he said.
The communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas last month claimed 62 lives and displaced over 40,000 people.
Khan dismissed BJP`s claim that the UPA government is pushing for the Bill with an eye on elections, saying it has been under consultation for a long time and the government`s job is to function "till the last day".
BJP has dubbed the Bill as "anti-majority" while some regional parties feel it violated federal principles.
The Bill has also been opposed by some states as it seeks to empower the central government to send central forces unilaterally in the event of communal disturbances.
The draft bill largely sticks to the provisions in the `Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011` prepared by Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said any step that will reduce communal violence is a good thing but the implications of the proposed bill on the state has to be discussed before his party, National Conference, takes any decision.
"What effect it will have on Jammu and Kashmir keeping in view the special status of the state, what will be the role of our party and role of the coalition (partners), it needs to be discussed," he told reporters in Srinagar. NC is an ally of Congress in UPA.