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Published in the 1-15 June 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

UPA to make communal violence a federal offence

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance proposes to enact a separate comprehensive law on communal violence under which investigations will be carried out only by central agencies and prosecution by special courts.

On Ayodhya, the UPA will await the verdict of the courts while encouraging negotiations between the parties to the dispute for an amicable settlement, a draft of the common minimum programme circulated among allies and supporting parties today said.

The draft said the government would enact a comprehensive law on communal violence providing for investigations by central agencies, prosecutions by special courts, and payment of uniform compensation.

The draft said the UPA is committed to the implementation of the Protection of Places of Worship Act, 1992. 

It said the UPA would amend the Constitution to establish a commission for minority educational institutions that will provide direct affiliation for minority professional institutions to central universities.

The document said the UPA would promote modern and technical education among all minority communities and the social and economic empowerment of the minorities through more systematic attention to education and employment will be its primary concern.

It proposes to set up a national commission to examine the issue of backwardness and adequate representation of all religious and linguistic minorities and to make recommendations on the issue.

On administrative reforms, the draft said the UPA would prepare a detailed blueprint for revamping the public administration system and promotion of e-governance on a massive scale.The Right to Information Act will be made more progressive, participatory, and meaningful, it said. It also said the UPA would take a leading role to drastically cut delays in high courts and the lower judiciary and expand their legal aid services.

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