Jobs @ MG
U.P. Religious bill in ‘cold storage’
The UP Religious Places Bill is yet to be withdrawn but
for now it seems that it has been relegated to the cold storage. The flack it
received from the second largest community of the country seems to have made it
impossible to implement the Bill in the state although a UP minister had
threatened to introduce a tougher bill.
Consistent Muslim efforts to stall the infamous UP religious Places Bill have
proved successful. The unending rallies, sit-ins and campaigns in the four
corners of the country seem to have made the required impact over the power
centres in the country. BJP vice president JP Mathur’s announcement that there
are no plans to review the Bill because it has generated such an opposition, was
received with caution by Muslim leaders. In fact it was a cause to rejoice as
the struggle being waged by Muslims against the Bill was clearly paying
Minority communities, particularly Muslims, have opposed it tooth and nail
because it directly targetted them and gave district magistrates undue powers to
implement its provisions. They apprehended that the state government, would
implement its agenda of restricting the religious freedoms of the minorities in
the guise of the Bill through district magistrates.
The absence of provision for appeal to courts in the Bill also came in for
criticism from politicians and leaders of the minority communities. Under this
bill, an aggrieved person can only appeal against the decision of the concerned
district magistrate to the divisional commissioner, another bureaucrat, and not
to a court of law.
Though several BJP leaders including Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, have said that the
Bill has been sent to the ‘cold storage,’ and the government does not intend
to implement it any more, Muslims have not abandoned their campaign against it.
They are skeptical about the announcement as they feel that the government is
not sincere in withdrawing the bill and may try to push it later. There is a lot
more than meets the eye about this bill. The most glaring is the impression
given that it was sent to the President for his approval while the Bill was
lying all along in the home ministry. If the government is sincere, why its
withdrawal is not announced officially? q