A bill with a high sounding name called 'Prevention of Communal Violence Bill' was to be tabled in Parliament in June/July 2011. But, it was put on back burner as the ruling group understood that it had too many loopholes and would not get through the Parliament. And if it goes through, might be struck down in Supreme Court. Now, a desperate Congress is back to stoking communal passions by spreading the news that it wishes to bring the legislation in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament.
Their efforts at scaring and terrorizing minorities by waving Modi red rag at them has failed. They can sense the Modi wave which is slowly building and while their own stock in dumps due to their misdeeds of last ten years. Since, they cannot fight BJP on development platform in spite of brave attempts by left-secular forces led by Raja Digvijay Singh to discredit Modi's claims of good governance, they have chosen to go back to the territory they are very familiar for decades with viz. playing communal card, sometimes covertly sometimes overtly.
Since, Congress government chose to dust-off the Communal Violence Bill file I too revived an earlier article on the subject and updated it with some newer perspectives to caution people about the dangers of this patently Communal bill.
The bill professes to off-set an alleged bias of official machinery and communal society (read Hindus) against Minorities (read Muslims). May I point out that the original draft of this outrageously communal bill was first floated in Teesta Setalvad's magazine 'Communal Combat' even before it was brought up by NAC.
The lady is facing a few cases and huge back lash from people whom she used and misused by tutoring them in Gujarat cases. Her principal collaborator in this attempt, Mr. Harsh Mander (NAC member) is also back on TV. Thus, the intention of the bill is clear. This is 'secular game plan' in the name of fighting 'majority communalism' with 'minority communalism' in the garb of 'secularism'.
I will try to put the major points in a layman language. The bill seeks to divide the population at every level in the name of 'dominant' groups and 'others - minorities, dalits etc.' It assumes that the ' minorities' are always 'targeted' by 'dominant' group. For sake of some window dressing and further dividing Hindu society, dalits too have been brought under the ambit of this legislation as the 'targeted groups'.
It is immaterial for the people behind this bill that dalits already have a well drafted and working legislation to protect them against any discrimination and violence. It is there for years and it is a moot point that it has not stopped violence and discrimination unless these laws are applied stringently by a strong political leadership.
This definition of two opposing groups is supposed to be done district by district. Thus, society is sought to be divided at all levels and sub-layers of the country. However, it is not applicable in J&K as Hindus don't seem to need such a protection. Perhaps, the authors of the bill think they deserve to be ethnically cleansed. We have seen it happen in Kashmir and now we are witnessing it in border areas of Jammu.
With this presumption, of minority being always 'targeted' and 'dominant' being always the aggressor; in any communal disturbance or any kind, onus will be on the administration - police, state government to take action against 'dominant group'.
It is also assumed that incitement with hate speech or any other action would always be from 'dominant' group and it is presumed that 'minority' i.e. less than 50% of a state's population are lambs, too scared to instigate any communal disturbance.
Consider recent riots as a case study, even if some aggressive Muslims carry AK-47 as was the case in Muzaffarnagar, they can't be charged under this law, but Hindus who hold Mahapanchayat and 'spread hatred against minorities' can be booked even if its unarmed members were killed in a hail of bullets from these automatic weapons. It is being explained away that our minority brethren were probably very scared of large crowds so they opened fire in 'self defence'.
Similarly, where would the case of recent Assam violence fit in if new bill were in place? In this case, Tribals, a minority, felt threatened by another minority – Muslims. This led to unspeakable horrors and killings? Who would be booked?
Does a mere 5-10% difference in population makes one community a minority and another a majority, say in case of Punjab? Or in Kerala, where all the three dominant communities are more or less evenly balanced in terms of population.
How will this bill tackle problem of 'minority' Christian groups feeling targeted by ' love jihad' from another 'minority' group? Or hands of a minority community teacher are cut off by hooligans of another minority community? How will administration handle Shia-Sunni riots? Can this bill help give justice to victims of such violence or threats?
Recall recent incidences in Deganga in West Bengal around 2 year back where Muslims created havoc to stop Durga puja by Hindus. The riots were allegedly led by a Trinamool Congress MP run by the high priestess of secularism, Ms. Mamata Banerjee.
Here, supposedly 'majority' or ' dominant' community was at the receiving end from 'targeted minority' community. As per proposed bill, Hindus would be charge sheeted if they retaliated in any form, but not Muslims.
As per this bill, a police officer or DM is supposed to take action on his/her own whether the executive i.e. state government has asked him/her to take a certain line of action or not to quell a disturbance or riots. But, political leadership will have no responsibility, though it controls that police in reality. This bill clearly believes that political leadership has no role in maintaining law and order. Any common citizen would then wonder, why do we need a political leadership?
In their wisdom, secularists have assumed that the 'communal' state governments will not act promptly or mess up a communally explosive situation. For such an eventuality a 'supra-constitutional authority' nominated by a presumably ' secular' government under the new proposed law will decide whether to dismiss that state government, bypassing Article 356, a law that makes it possible to challenge it in court of law by a targeted state government.
The same 'nominated authority' can also take action against any officer and administrator. The composition of such a ' supra- constitutional' body is also controlled in such a way that it is weighed against majority community. Thus, a non-elected body will hold sway over an elected government in case of any communal disturbance; an entirely undemocratic way of crippling a civic government.
I am sure that the promoters of the bill know in their heart that such a horrendous logic is going to tear the very fabric of communal harmony to whatever extent it has still survived, rather than strengthening it. It is a bill that talks of unlimited accountability of executive, police, administration; and being presented by a government headed by a PM, whose constant refrain is 'I didn’t know', or 'what can I do?...after all it is a coalition, so I am helpless!'
Reports of all the commissions and courts of enquiries established since independence point out that 98-99% of communal disturbances have been sparked by so called 'minority' communities; who probably felt 'threatened' due to any perceived or illogical reason.
These minorities have then suffered in the later aftermath of retaliation by 'majority' community. This is what happened in Gujarat too after Godhra train burning. It is sad that these cynical politicians are playing the game Muslim League played to split India, using same political construct.
This is an undemocratic bill prepared by highly poisonous and biased Congress promoted group, but carries enormous clout due to proximity of a lady who has not yet understood the social dynamics of this vast and varied country.
Congress is playing with communal fire for political expediency, as it hopes to pander to minority vote bank since they now sense that their Modi bogey will work. Unless society wakes up to this dangerous move, real communal forces masquerading as 'secularists' will align with terrorist groups to wreak havoc in this great country.
They wish to provoke BJP to speak against the bill and bring back national debate to communalism vs pseudo-secularism, a turf they are comfortable with, since they have nothing to show in the name of policy or vision about growth and well being of common and poor people.
Problem is not a dearth of laws but their honest and firm implementation and lack of political spine. Communal violence is a form of violence nurtured by vote bank politics and it can be controlled only by political will and strong leadership, not by such a biased and ill thought legislation.