COMMUNAL VIOLENCE BILL – THREAT TO NATIONAL INTEGRATION, SOCIAL HARMONY AND CONSTITUTIONAL FEDERALISM
Ever since the UPA Government came to power in 2004 there started a cacophony about bringing a stricter law to prevent communal violence in the country. In its first term the UPA Government had, as its alliance partners, the Left parties as well as leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan etc. It may be worthwhile to recall that it were these very people who had launched a massive campaign of disinformation about the then existing anti-terrorism law called the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). They finally succeeded in getting the POTA repealed on the specious ground that it was being used to harass innocent Muslims. Any amount of statistical data contrary to their false claims against POTA wouldn’t convince them because the main objective behind the campaign against the POTA was to play the same old game of vote-banks. Incidentally after the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York many countries in the world including America have introduced fresh stringent laws against terror while India became the only country to repeal the existing laws thus leaving the security agencies without any instrument to tackle the huge challenge of terror.
Not content with repealing the existing anti-terrorism laws the new UPA Government decided to bring in a new act in the name of preventing communal violence in the country. Although sounding noble, it was clear from day one that the real motive of the protagonists for this act was to harass the Hindu groups and organizations in the country. For them the violence in Gujarat in 2002 became a good excuse to justify introduction of a law that would prevent what they described as the ‘Majoritarian violence against the hapless Minorities’. Leaders like Lalu Prasad went to the extent of making ridiculous suggestions that carrying sticks should be banned under the new act. For him the stick is identified with the RSS uniform.
Finally the UPA Government did introduce a draft Bill in the Parliament in 2005. It was described as THE COMMUNAL VIOLENCE (PREVENTION, CONTROL AND REHABILITATION OF VICTIMS) BILL, 2005. Official declaration described this bill as below:
A bill to empower the Sate Governments and the Central Government to take measures to provide for the prevention and control of communal violence which threatens the secular fabric, unity, integrity and internal security of the nation and rehabilitation of victims of such violence and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The draft Bill was placed before the Parliament in December 2005 by the then Home Minister Sri Shivraj Patil. Since the intentions of the Government of the day were suspect there was opposition from various quarters to the draft. As mentioned above the draft talks of imposing a ban on even lathis – sticks, calling them weapons. However the draft Bill does make some significant points. It sufficiently empowers the State Governments as stakeholders in preventing communal violence. It also extends the application of the Bill to all forms of communal violence by all groups, irrespective of their religion or social background.
Objections from Muslim and Christian Groups
However the Bill didn’t find favour with anybody. Leaders of several political parties felt that the draft Bill provides sweeping powers to the Central Government thus undermining the authority of the State Governments. But the most vocal opposition to this draft Bill came from the Muslim, Christian and pseudo-Secular quarters. Their contention was just the opposite of what the political leaders were saying. In the eyes of the so-called civil society groups and Muslim and Christian groups the 2005 draft Bill is completely toothless. They argued that the Bill lacked accountability. They demanded that the powers of managing communal violence be vested in non-Government actors and make governments and administration accountable for communal violence.
The All India Christian Council was in the forefront of this campaign against the draft 2005 Bill. In a letter written to the Prime Minister the AICC conveyed the following concerns about the draft Bill, by then revised once and called the Bill – 2009.
1. The Bill doesn’t adequately address the question of hate campaigns and the “communalisation process” (i.e. hate speech published in local language media) that precedes communal violence. This well-studied phenomenon of activities, some already illegal but not often prosecuted, is a root issue.
2. The Bill doesn’t take into account the demography and pattern of living of various communities. Specifically, anti-Christian violence is normally dismissed by public officials as “sporadic” (although there may be a serious incident daily in some areas). Because other minorities live in concentrated or contiguous areas, those “communally disturbed areas” are more easily identified. In Orissa, Kandhamal would likely not fit the Bill’s definition but we know what happened there in 2007-2008.
3. The Bill doesn’t give States guidelines on reparations and compensation. We need a uniform national policy as well standards on the assessment of damages after riots in order to prevent ghettoisation.
4. The Bill doesn’t fully address police and administrative impunity properly or adequately. The “good faith” clause, which exempts police and public servants from prosecution unless there is permission from the executive branch, is a major concern.
The Muslim bodies too had started a protest campaign against the draft. More than 20 Muslim scholars and leaders, under the leadership of Syed Shahbuddin, issued a statement arguing against the draft Bill. They wanted provisions to make police and civil administration and state authorities accountable. The Joint Committee of Muslim Organisations for Empowerment (JCMOE) has made the demand on behalf of these organizations. JCMOE also urged the government to convene a meeting of leaders of targeted communities to note their views on the bill.
“The Bill does not make police or administration or state authorities accountable and provide for timely and effective intervention by the National Human Rights Commission, if the communal violence spreads or continues for weeks, or by the Central Government under Articles 355 and 356 of the Constitution, duly modified. On the other hand, ironically, the Bill grants more power to the local police and administration, which, more often than not acts in league with the rioters by declaring the area as ‘communally disturbed area’” JCMOE statement said.
“The undersigned call upon the Government to provide for prompt registration of communal crimes, their urgent investigation by special agencies and prosecution of identified culprits, including policemen, administrators and politicians, in Special Courts with Special Prosecutors, who are acceptable to the victims and in such cases the provision of prior sanction of the government should not apply to such culprits. The undersigned also demand a uniform scale of compensation for the whole country, irrespective of religion of the victims or the culprits or the venue of communal violence, for loss of life, honour and property and as well as destruction of and damage to religious places with the provision to revise the scale every 10 years and assessment of losses and damage by a Special Commissioner from outside the state occurrence.”
“The undersigned, for the reasons mentioned above do not find the Bill of 2009 acceptable and request the Government not to introduce it in a hurry without consulting the representatives and leaders of the civil society, particularly the communities which are generally targeted and to revise the Bill in the light of their suggestions and observations.”
The Muslim leaders have requested “all secular forces, the civil society and the political parties represented in the Parliament to press the Government to revise the Bill before introduction in order to remove the inadequacies, defects and flaws which have been pointed out and objected to by the targeted communities, in order to assure them of absolute Equality before Law and guarantee their Security and Dignity.”
What is interesting and important to note is that these two statements, the Muslim and the Christian, come at around the same time as though they were premeditated. Simultaneously the so-called civil society, a euphemism for pseudo-Secular intelligentsia, too started raising the pitch against the draft.
From their arguments in opposition of the draft Bill it is clear that they wanted a Bill that would consider only the Christians and Muslims as the “generally targeted” victims of communal violence; that the word ‘communal violence’ be defined in such a way that only the Muslims and Christians are treated as victims and Hindus as ‘rioters’; that the local police and administration, including the State administration, is always hand-in-glove with the perpetrators of violence; that the Bill should empower the Central Government to invoke Art.355 and 366 of the Constitution in the event of communal violence.
Since the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill – 2005 as amended as Prevention of Communal Violence Bill – 2009 doesn’t discriminate the perpetrators and victims of communal violence on religious grounds and also it envisages the State administration as an equal stake holder in preventing such violence these groups wanted the Bill to be withdrawn.
It is around that time that the new National Advisory Council – NAC – had been constituted by the UPA Government under the chairmanship of Ms. Sonia Gandhi. The UPA Government promptly handed over the matter to the newly constituted NAC and asked it to come up with a fresh draft.
History of Communal Strife in India
India has a long history of communal strife between various communities. Before Independence the country’s history was replete with worst communal violence. Post-Partition the scale of communal violence has come down considerably although it has not been completely mitigated. Sporadic incidents of violence continued and occasionally some major riot would take place here and there. Most of the communal strife and violence in the country occurs in places where the specific Minority groups, especially the Muslims are in greater numbers.
Under Rajiv Gandhi, the Union Government had embarked on identifying communally sensitive districts in the country and ended up identifying mostly those districts that have Muslims as the demographic majority. Some of the communally sensitive spots in the country like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Meerut, Delhi, Kolkata etc have large presence of Muslims.
This one factor negates the propaganda that the Hindus are the perpetrators of communal violence. There is a general global understanding that the majority is always a bully and the minority a victim. However in India we don’t have such majorities and minorities. Secondly the country remains largely peaceful essentially due to the demographic majority of the Hindus only. There are enough instances in our country where the so-called minority groups were found to be the instigators and perpetrators of communal violence.
Hence the basic premise that the Majority community – read Hindus – are the perpetrators of communal violence in India and the minority – read Muslims and Christians – are the victims is essentially wrong. Equally wrong is the premise that a particular government or party is good in governance and the other bad. History of India provides enough evidence to suggest that highest number of communal clashes take place in Congress-ruled states and in many instances of communal violence political interests too play a vital role.
Writing in Economic and Political Weekly author of the book Communal Riots in India Steven I Wilkinson observes: “In the book I highlight examples of Congress and Muslim League politicians’ complicity in partition-era riots in Bihar, UP, and in Calcutta (pp 5,74). I also point out that in the post-independence era Congress has at times benefited electorally from Hindu-Muslim violence (p 50) and I find that we can identify no robust statistical relationship between Congress rule and the level of riots, a result I attribute to the widely varying communal character of the party and its leadership across time and place (p 153). Lest anyone be in doubt about my position, I say on p 153 that “at one time or another, Congress politicians have both fomented and prevented communal violence for political advantage. Congress governments have failed, for example, to prevent some of India’s worst riots (e g, the Ahmedabad riots of 1969, the Moradabad riots of 1980, and the Meerut riots of 1987) and in some cases Congress ministers have reportedly instigated riots…and have blocked riot enforcement.”
Following chart shows the major incidents of communal violence in Indian between 1947 and 2003.
Year City/State Casualties/Injured C.M. Ruling Party
1947 Calc/WBengal 5000/25000 Prafull Ghosh Congress
1947 Punjab 5000/3000 Gopichand Bhargav Congress
1964 W. Bengal 2000 Prafull Sen Congress
1967 Ranchi/Bihar 183 Mahamaya Prasad Congress
1968 Asam 82 B.P. Chalina Congress
1969 Gujarat 512 H. K. Desai Congress
1970 Maharashtra 120 V.P. Naik Congress
1972 Nonari / U.P. 76 K. P. Tripathi Congress
1977 Varanasi / U.P. 5 Ram Naresh Yadav Janata Party
1978 Sambhal / U.P. 25 Ram Nresh Yadav Janata Party
1978 Hydrabad/ A.P. 19 J.Vengal Rao Congress
1979 Jamshedpur/Bihar 120 Karpoori Thakur Janata Party
1980 Moradabad/ U.P. 2000 V.P. Singh Congress I
1981 Biharsharif/ Bihar 80 Jagannath Mishra Congress I
1982 Meerut / U.P. 12/30 Sripati Mishra Congress I
1982 Baroda / Gujarat 17/50 M.S. Solanki Congress I
1983 Malur/Karnataka Ramkrishna Hedge Janata Party
1983 Malegaon/Maharashtra VasantRao Patil Congress I
1983 Hazaribagh/ Bihar ChandraShekher Congress I
1983 Hydrabad / A.P. 45/150 N.T.Ramarao TDP
1984 Maharashtra 146/611 VasantRao Patil Congress I
1984 Delhi 2733 Central Govt. Congress I
1985 Ahemdabad 300 M.S. Solanki Congress I
1986 Ahemdabad 59/80 Amarsinh chodhary Congress
1987 Meerut/ U.P. 3000 Bir Bahadur Singh Congress
1989 Indore 27 Moti Lal Vora Congress
1989 Kota/Rajasthan S. C. Mathur Congress
1989 Bhadrak/Orissa 17 J.B. Patnaik Congress
1990 Gujarat 265/775 ChimmanbhaiPatel Janata Party
1990 Jaipur / Rajasthan 72/644 B.S. shekhawat Janata Party
1990 Uttar Pradesh 94/69 Mulayam Singh SJP
1990 Delhi 100 Central Government
1990 Assam 37 P.K. Mahantha AGP
1990 Maharashtra Sharad Pawar Congress
1990 Bihar 996 Jagannath Mishra Congress
1990 Madhya Pradesh 13/150 Sunderlal Patwa BJP
1990 Karnataka 60 S. Bangarappa Congress
1990 Hydrabad/A.P. 299/350 M.Chenna Reddy Congress
1991 Banaras/U.P. 50 Kalyan Singh BJP
1991 Baroda/Gujarat 66/170 Chimmanbhai Patel Janata Party
1992 Sitamarhi/Bihar 44 Laloo Prasad Yadav Janata Dal
1992 Surat/Gujarat 200 ChimmanbhaiPatel Janata Party
1992 Bombay 1000 Sudhakarrao Naik NCP
1992 Bhopal/M.P. 143 Sunderlal Patwa BJP
1995 Madras/Tamilnadu 4 Jayalalita AIADMK
1995 Karnataka ½ HD Devegoda Janata Dal
1995 Kerala 2 AK Antony Congress
1995 Bihar 5 Laloo Prasad Yadav RJD
1995 Hydrabad/AP 2/100 Chandrababu Naidu TDP
1998 Ajmer/Rajasthan 25 B S Shekhawat BJP
1998 Moradabad/UP 3/50 Kalyan Singh BJP
1998 Hydrabad/AP 4/16 Chandrababu Naidu TDP
1998 Munger/Bihar 3/39 Rabri Devi RJD
1998 Suratkul/Karnataka 12 JH Patel Janata Party
1999 Surat/Gujarat 7/27 Keshubhai Patel BJP
2001 Nalanda/Bihar 8/6 Rabri Devi RJD
2001 Moradabad/UP 6 Rajnath singh BJP
2001 Maharashtra 2/30 Vilasrao Deshmukh Congress
2001 Malegaon 16 Vilasrao Deshmukh Congress
2002 Gujarat 1000 Narendra Modi BJP
2002 Maharashtra 9/16 Sushil Shinde Congress
2003 Kerala 9 A.K Antony Congress
(This is not an exhaustive list)
One of the major reasons for communal strife in our country is the unabashed Minority politics of the sections of political establishment. These communal politics with an eye on vote banks have not benefitted anybody, certainly not the Minority community. They only helped politicians climb up the rungs using the minorities as vote-banks. The communities remained poor and backward, illiterate and unemployed and as a result easy prey to divisive and terrorist forces. In addition this vote-bank politics has widened the gulf between the communities.
In this scenario what we need to tackle the communal violence in the country are laws that are non-discriminatory and universal; politics that is responsible and neutral; and Governments that are responsive and universally accountable. Sadly what we get is just the opposite, laws that are overtly discriminatory; politics that smacks of blatant partisanship; and Governments that are driven by hate and utter disregard for communities, parties and other governments.
The proposed new Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Justice & Reparations) Bill – 2011 is just a bundle of all that evil; an epitome of all that we should be negating.
As the opposition to the draft Bill grew louder the UPA Government decided to rope in a body called the National Advisory Council – NAC – to help redraft the Bill. Thus the mandate of redrafting the Bill landed in the hands of this unofficial body of activist-intellectuals. Before proceeding further to understand what the NAC had done with the mandate it is pertinent to know what the NAC is all about in the first place.
The National Advisory Council – NAC
One of the first things that the UPA government did when it came to power at the Center in early 2004 was to constitute the National Advisory Council. It was constituted on 31 May 2004 by a Government Order with a mandate: ‘a) to monitor the progress of the implementation of the Common Minimum Program; b) to provide inputs for the formulation of policy by the Government and to provide support to the Government in legislative business.’
Smt. Sonia Gandhi became the Chairperson of the NAC with Cabinet Minister rank. As per the GO of the NAC the Prime Minister, in consultation with the Chairperson, would appoint the members. That means it is more like the fiefdom of Chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The term of the NAC after several extensions came to an end on 31 March 2008.
After the reelection of the UPA Government at the Center in 2009 the NAC also got reconstituted on 29 March 2010. Smt. Sonia Gandhi has again been nominated as the Chairperson with the rank of Union Cabinet Minister. Initially a 14-Member Council has been constituted on 31 May 2010 with the following Members:
1. Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, MP
2. Prof. Ram Dayal Munda, MP
3. Prof. Narendra Jadhav, Member, Planning Commission
4. Prof. Pramod Tandon, VC, North East Hill University, Shillong
5. Dr. Jean Dreze, GB Pant Social Sciences Institute, Allahabad
6. Ms. Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan, Rajsamund, Rajasthan
7. Sri Madhav Gadgil, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune
8. Sri N.C. Saxena
9. Dr. A.K. Shiv Kumar, Advisor, UNICEF, New Delhi
10. Shri Deep Joshi
11. Ms. Anu Agha, Thermax Ltd, Pune
12. Ms. Farah Naqvi
13. Shri Harsh Mander
14. Ms. Mirai Chatterjee, Coordinator, SEWA, Ahmedabad
(All the Members, except Jean Dreze, continue in the Council to this day)
While some of the Members of the Council are reputed in their respective fields some seem to have gained entry due to their proximity to the Chairperson or rabid Minorityist and anti-Hindu moorings. At least people like Harsh Mander and Farah Naqvi don’t enjoy any other reputation than their rabid anti-Hindutva credentials. Another Member Aruna Roy is a darling of the ultra-Left CPI (ML) in India.
What is interesting is that it is these two Members – Farah Naqvi and Harsh Mander – who were made the joint coordinators of the committee for redrafting the ill-fated Bill. In fact going through the line up of drafting and advising panels constituted for the purpose of redrafting the Bill would make it amply clear that the end product would be nothing but a disaster for the nation.
? Gopal Subramanium
? Maja Daruwala
? Najmi Waziri
? P.I. Jose
? Prasad Sirivella
? Teesta Setalvad
? Usha Ramanathan (upto 20 Feb 2011)
? Vrinda Grover (upto 20 Feb 2011)
Conveners of Drafting Committee
? Farah Naqvi, Convener, NAC Working Group
? Harsh Mander, Member, NAC Working Grou
Advisory Group Members
1. Abusaleh Shariff
2. Asgar Ali Engineer
3. Gagan Sethi
4. H.S Phoolka
5. John Dayal
6. Justice Hosbet Suresh
7. Kamal Faruqui
8. Manzoor Alam
9. Maulana Niaz Farooqui
10. Ram Puniyani
11. Rooprekha Verma
12. Samar Singh
13. Saumya Uma
14. Shabnam Hashmi
15. Sister Mary Scaria
16. Sukhdeo Thorat
17. Syed Shahabuddin
18. Uma Chakravarty
19. Upendra Baxi
1. Aruna Roy, NAC Working Group Member
2. Professor Jadhav, NAC Working Group Member
3. Anu Aga, NAC Working Group Member
Joint Conveners of Advisory Group
? Farah Naqvi, Convener, NAC Working Group
? Harsh Mander, Member, NAC Working Group
With people like Teesta Setlawad, Asgar Ali Engineer, John Dayal, Ram Punyani, Shabnam Hashmi and Syed Shahabuddin what else can we expect but a thoroughly communalist and anti-Hindu Bill? The draft Bill put up on the website of the NAC early this year horrendous to put it mildly. It is quintessential evil in the form of a Bill.
Nationwide hue and cry followed after the draft was made available for comments from the public. Recommendations poured in from various quarters but most of them were in the nature of admonitions. Sections of intelligentsia and political class have taken up cudgels against the draft. Several articles appeared in the media condemning the brazenness of the Members of the Draft Committee for coming out with such a blatantly communal draft. The Drafting Committee and NAC Members found it hard to defend themselves in the TV debates and media appearances except of course coming out as a bunch of rabid communalists.
Even the officialdom, which is invested with the responsibility of drafting such bills, was aghast at the draft. It is reliably learnt that some of the officials who were consulted by the Drafting Committee during the course of their work had strongly advised them against such a draft stating that no Government can pass bills discriminatory to one religion or the other.
After months-long debate the draft was modified and prepared for presentation to the Parliament. Final draft is now available on the NAC website. However the changes appear to be merely cosmetic and the core thrust of the Bill remains the same. The NAC seems determined to pursue its agenda.
Before discussing the contents of the Bill a very serious question needs to be raised with regard to the locus standi of the NAC. It is a committee appointed by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Chairperson, in this case Sonia Gandhi. Thus it lacks any consensus or democratic mandate. It claims to represent Civil Society but there is no definition to who constitute Civil Society. Effectively it is an NGO of a bunch of Sonia-loyalists and activist-pseudo-intellectuals (with some honourable exceptions). In a democratic system of governance it is the duty of the Parliament to promulgate laws and the there is a bureaucracy to help them in that job. If the drafting of such important bills can be outsourced to an NGO like the NAC why should we have the bureaucracy? Why should the Members of Parliament accept a draft prepared by an NGO for discussion on the floor of the House? If an NAC can be allowed to draft bills because it happens to be handpicked by an extra-constitutional authority called Sonia Gandhi can the same model be followed by present governments in states and future governments at the Center? What will happen to our democratic system then? To extend an open mandate to an extra-Constitutional entity is fraught with serious consequences to our democratic polity.
The Draft – Intentions and Agenda
The draft that is available on the NAC website now is the modified version. Before getting into the modified version and its implications we must first have a look at the intentions of those who are behind the draft. There is an ‘Explanatory Note’ on the draft prepared by the drafting committee outlining the rationale behind bringing such a law. This Explanatory Note speaks volumes about the mindset of the committee.
The most fundamental problem with this draft Bill is the premise on which it is based. Let me quote the very first paragraph of the explanatory note:
“The Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011 is intended to enhance State accountability and correct discriminatory exercise of State powers in the context of identity-based violence, and to thus restore equal access to the law for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and religious and linguistic minorities. That such acts of violence occur repeatedly is a tragedy for a modern democracy. However, when they do, then it is the Constitutional right of every citizen, no matter how numerically weak or disadvantaged, to expect equal protection from an impartial and just State. Evidence from state records and several of Commissions of Enquiry has confirmed institutional bias and prejudicial functioning of the State administration, law enforcement and criminal justice machinery when a non- dominant group in the unit of a State, based either on language or religion, or a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, is attacked because of their identity in the unit of that State. This prevents such non-dominant groups from getting full and fair protection of the laws of the land or equal access to justice.”
The basic premise is that: a) there is a non-dominant group in every State in the form of religious and linguistic minority which is always a victim of violence; b) the dominant majority in the State is always the perpetrator of violence; and c) the State administration is, as a rule, biased against the non-dominant group.
This premise in itself is flawed, so is the arithmetic of it. In many States if the religious and linguistic minorities and SC, ST communities are taken together they form the majority and the rest a minority. What is more important is to conclude that in all cases of communal and targeted violence dominant religious and linguistic group at the State level is always the perpetrator and the other the victims. Similarly the conclusion that the State machinery is invariably and always biased against the non-dominant groups gross misstatement of the sincerity and commitment of millions of people who form State administration in the country.
Not once, but repeatedly the explanatory note returns to this condescension and condemnation of the dominant groups and the State administration. And there is no ambiguity in this abnormal belief. In fact the drafting team brazenly declares that:
“Existing laws of the land and the machinery of the State are found to work relatively impartially when targeted identity-based offences are committed against dominant groups in a State”.
The implication is that they work with bias when it comes to non-dominant groups. In fact the note is explicit in stating that the Bill is ‘for non-dominant groups’ only.
This flawed premise is the real danger with this Bill. It leads to a number of anomalies and contradictions. For example a particular religious group can be a ‘non-dominant’ one at the State level but dominant in several districts. But the Bill is applied only on the basis of State level data. Similarly in a situation of violence between the SC & ST communities and religious minorities like the Muslims and Christians, as is often the case, which act will apply? It is the SC & ST Atrocities Act or the present Communal Violence Act? Also to argue that in a given violence if the dominant group is the victim then the IPC sections would apply whereas if a non-dominant group is the victim then the new Act will be applied is a weird logic. Normally in all these types of violence both the so-called dominant and non-dominant groups suffer.
One can safely conclude that the scriptwriters of this Bill are themselves blind with biases. All these premises are essentially wrong. In India communal violence happens mostly because of politico-communal reasons. In many instances it is the so-called minority group that triggers the trouble. We need laws that can prevent such violence irrespective of whoever perpetrates it. To argue that since the administration is always biased in favour of the dominant group we need acts that are biased in favour of the non-dominant group is imprudent and puerile.
The Draft and the Horror of it
The final draft is available on the NAC website now. One is not sure if the same will be placed before the Parliament or not. This has become doubtful especially after the strong opposition it encountered from the Chief Ministers of various states. However a close scrutiny of the draft is essential to understand the serious implications of and threats from it for our national integration, social harmony and Constitutional Federalism.
As usual and with every other Act Art 1 of this Act too will apply to whole country except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. What is interesting to note is that J&K is one of the two states in India (excluding the North East and other tiny UTs) that has Hindus as a Minority – the ‘non-dominant group’ according to this Bill, Punjab being the other State where the Sikhs constitute the dominant group. In the rest of the entire country it is the Hindus who constitute ‘dominant group’ and by implication the perpetrators of communal violence, according to this Bill.
The mischief of the drafting committee primarily lies in the ‘Definitions’ part contained in Art.3 of the first chapter. Art.3 (C) defines Communal and Targeted Violence as under:
“Communal and targeted violence” means and includes any act or series of acts, whether spontaneous or planned, resulting in injury or harm to the person and or property, knowingly directed against any person by virtue of his or her membership of any group.
All the mischief is centered round the word ‘Group’. Art 3 (E) defines what constitutes a ‘Group’.
“Group” means a religious or linguistic minority, in any State in the Union of India, or Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes within the meaning of clauses (24) and (25) of Article 366 of the Constitution of India;
Having thus established that the individual member of the Minority community is always considered a part of that Minority group the Bill goes on to add several detrimental clauses subsequently. Art 3 (F) defines ‘Hostile environment against a group’ thus:
“Hostile environment against a group
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Did You Know?
Hinduism is very well defined in Vedas, the highest authority of Hinduism. Vedas says:
'Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti' - Truth (The supreme Reality) is one but sages call it (God) by different names.
God is one, unparalleled through his wondrous, mighty & formidable laws & deeds. - Rigveda 8/1/27.
'Sarva Dharma Sambhava' - Equal respect for all religions.
'Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah'- Let all be happy and safe in this world.
'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam'- Whole world in one family.
'Sarva Bhut Hite Ratah' - Work continuously for welfare of every living being.
'Atmavat Sarva Bhuteshu' - Treat all as your own self.
Ye learned man uplift the fallen again - Rigveda 10/137/1
Earn with hundred hands & distribute with thousand - Atharva Veda 3/24/5
I destroy ill earned wealth - Atharva Veda 7/155/4
'Matra Devobhava Pitra Devobhava Acharya Devobhava'- Respect mother, father & teacher as divinities.
Motherland, may we sacrifice all for thee - Atharva Veda 12/1/62.
One who can protect virtuous & law abiding citizens & can crush the traitors of the nation deserves to be the ruler. he alone can save the nation.