The bill targeting to tackle communal violence, due to be introduced in the forthcoming session of Parliament, has evoked the bitterest criticism fromTamil Nadu Chief MinisterJayalalithaa Jayaram.
Flatly condemning the proposed bill, Jayalalithaa said on Friday that the Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011, would not even “remotely achieve its desired objective” and on the other hand would “promote distrust among various groups”.
She said she feared the bill would also provide “opportunities for authorities to vent frustrations on vulnerable persons, or wreak vengeance against any group that is outspoken or critical.”
“If this bill becomes law, one could well have a situation where members of political parties in power at the Centre could conspire to create a volatile situation in a state that is governed by an opposition party. If the agitators are put down, the state government would be pilloried for stifling dissent,” Jayalalithaa said.
If violence erupts, the Centre can dub it as communal or targeted violence and use the sweeping and wholly subjective powers of the law and dismiss the concerned state government. It presented a veritable Catch-22 situation. “This is nothing but an undemocratic and fascist bill which is against and totally repugnant to the basic principles of the Constitution,” she said.
On Tuesday, VHP leaders in Karnataka had also condemned the draft bill. In a protest march held in Mangalore, VHP Karnataka vice-president MB Puranik said “the communal violence bill drafted under the presidentship of Sonia Gandhi is against the interests of Hindus in this country.
The committee which prepared the bill included all from the minority communities and hence it is in favour of minorities.” The VHP held a joint protest with Bajrang Dal against the proposed bill.
Making her extreme dislike for the bill clear, Jayalalithaa described the Centre’s move to introduce the bill as “a wholly undesirable piece of legislation that is being introduced with vested motives by a central regime that is not only running out of steam, but also of ideas for survival.”
The communal violence bill prepared by the National Advisory Council primarily deals with how the government would deal with violence against minorities. Its broad scope is the protection of religious and linguistic minorities as well as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Critics have, however, pointed out that the primary emphasis of the bill is on religious minorities.
Critics have also attacked the bill’s excessive faith in state machinery to ensure protection of minority communities as well as a presumed assumption that the country’s riot-prone past would be extended to future, too. She said the bill was being introduced under the garb of preventing communal and targeted violence while it was “yet another blatant attempt to bypass state governments and concentrate all powers in the central government”. Economic Times