Communal Violence Bill: Cynical and Short-Sighted Political Gamble, India Foundation, New Delhi, Pp 40, Email: [email protected]
Instead of fighting against the grave terrorist threat that the nation is confronted with today, the ruling UPA coalition at the Centre is displaying inexplicable haste in foisting a monstrous Bill in the form of Communal Violence Bill on the nation.
Drafted by a body misleadingly named as National Advisory Council (NAC), basically an NGO run by a collection of individuals known more for their biased opinions and motivated campaigns than for any real scholarship or national service, the Bill smacks of utter divisiveness and contempt for sections of the society. Its ostensible mission is to prevent communal violence in the country. But in reality, it only perpetuates the divisions in the society on communal and casteist lines. The draft Bill describes the majority community—Hindus in this case—as the perpetrators of communal violence against the minority and hence charts a course for remedy that is draconian and dangerous.
India Foundation, New Delhi, has come out with a study paper on this issue highlighting the opinion of experts and scholars on it. Titled as Communal Violence Bill: Cynical and Short-Sighted Political Gamble, the Paper was published recently as India Foundation Paper-14. It basically consists of the papers prepared by noted Supreme Court Lawyer and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, noted journalists Swapan Dasgupta, Arindam Chaudhuri, Shivaji Sarkar, Shyma Khosla, and noted writers Dr TH Chowdary, George Augustine and Vivek Gumaste.
The writers have stressed that communal violence must be firmly dealt with but at the same time there is a need to frame a set of policies and laws which promote communal harmony and discourage divisiveness. “What is needed is that all communities in all regions of the country—whether they constitute a majority or a minority, are equally enthused and galvanised to pursue the larger national goal of unity in diversity. Strangely, far from promoting harmony, the NAC draft has the potential to wreak the prevailing amity among various religious groups and promote divisiveness. By drafting laws that are partisan and favour one community as against the other, the government would be doing a signal disservice to the idea of unity itself. But by presuming that the government is striving for communal amity, we could be breaking up the wrong tree. In all probability, the politicians supporting or commissioning the proposed law could well be the promoters of strife to achieve their own narrow political/electoral objectives. They obliviously know that while such a law will vitiate communal harmony in the country, it could bring them a windfall in terms of minority votes,” the study paper said.