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Published in the 16-30 June 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

OPINION

Communal violence bill

The Milli Gazette Online 

A group of activists, lawyers and police officers met in Delhi on 18 May 2005 to discuss the government draft of the Communal Violence (Suppression) Bill, 2005. After careful consideration of the proposed Bill, the meeting was unanimous that the draft was entirely unsatisfactory and even dangerous, the solution being worse than the disease. We believe that the government does not lack sufficient powers even under the existing laws to prevent and control communal violence. The new law only gives draconian powers to the state and the armed forces in communal situations, which experience shows that such powers tends to be used mostly against minorities and marginalised groups. The meeting endorsed the view of the former chairperson of the NHRC, Justice Verma, that the Bill should be restricted to ensuring accountability of state and central governments and reparation and rehabilitation according to accepted international covenants. More such meetings are in the offing in different places. There is a need to build up pressure against this Bill.

Ram Puniyani, 
All India Secular Forum, Mumbai
jhang45@yahoo.com

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