Monday, February 26, 2024

Anti-communal violence bill fate hangs in limbo

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Bill a recipe for disaster: Modi

New Delhi: Fate of the controversial anti-communal violence bill hangs in limbo as several parties have expressed their strong reservations over the proposed legislation in its present form.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, expressing the government’s keenness to pass the Lokpal Bill in this session, did not give any definite commitment on the anti-communal violence bill would be brought in, though Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had earlier held out an assurance in this regard.
Talking to reporters on Parliament premises after both the Houses were adjourned for the day, Nath said the communal violence bill was being discussed with states.
Asked whether it would be possible to table the bill in the current session which was of very short duration, and there was no consensus over it yet, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said, “We will see, if discussions are completed..then it will go to Cabinet, and then to Parliament.”
On whether the session, which began on Thursday and is scheduled to end on December 20, would be extended, Nath said the decision would be taken around December 16 and 17 after looking at the quantum of work to be done.
The BJP has come out with strong opposition to the communal violence Bill, with its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi shooting off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh just before Parliament met for the winter session.
Modi described the Bill as “ill-conceived, poorly drafted and a recipe for disaster.”
The Gujarat Chief Minister questioned the timing of the proposed anti-communal legislation, saying the move to bring it in when the Lok Sabha elections were approaching was “suspicious” and “driven by vote bank politics” rather than genuine concern to prevent communal violence.
Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal said his party will not allow the provision that intruded in the rights of states.
The Bahujan Samaj Party also objected to the bill, arguing that it concentrated powers in the hands of the Centre, and wanted that it should be brought in after consensus.
The CPI supported the Bill but wanted some changes to be made.
Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M) said his party wanted that the provisions of the bill should not impinge on Centre-state relations.
Union Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan dismissed Modi’s contention that the bill was based on political consideration and is communally biased.
He said such a bill was the need of the hour.
The ‘Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2013’ was drafted by the National Advisory Council which is chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. (UNI)

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