Inter- Community Conflict Prevention and Resolution
- 1. Establishing a statutory Community
Relations Commission (CRC) for prevention, resolution and
management of all inter-group ethnic, linguistic and religious
conflicts/ disputes (as recommended by the report on ‘Communal
Riots: Prevention and Control’ by the National Commission for
Minorities (NCM) which it adopted and sent to Union and State
Governments for action in 1999). 1
- 1.1 The CRC to have a research wing, monitoring
mechanism and empowered to bring about conciliation through dialogue
and also empowered to start legal proceedings against erring parties.
- 1.2 The CRC to be entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing laws on
hate speech and taking other preventive measures like regulation of
activities of political parties, and taking out processions etc.
- 1.3 .The CRC to be entrusted with the
responsibility of reviewing all teaching material and media coverage
on issues related to communal discord and representation of religion,
history and culture of all segments of Indian society and taking steps
for necessary rectification and action under law if and when required.
Reorganization of the police making it function as an independent,
impartial, humane and effective law-enforcement agency using minimum
force appropriate to the situation. It should be accountable to law
under State Security Commissions, as recommended by the National
Police Commission (1979-81). 2
Police and Administrative Reform
Training of the police to eradicate its communal biases and prejudices
inculcating values, attitudes and conduct in accordance with secular
human rights norms. 3
Training of the police in intelligent, humane and effective riot control
methods, appropriate to any given situation, seeking cooperation of the
civil society organizations especially Mohalla and Zila Ekta/ Peace/
Sadbhavna committees. 4
Making the composition of the police socially
diverse with adequate minority representation in all wings
of the system. 5
Political and Administrative Accountability
- 3. Provision in the service rules of the D.M. and
other senior personnel of the district administration and the S.P. and
other police officers making them responsible for prevention and
timely control of any rioting/ social disorder, failure of which
should attract penal provisions including liability to pay
compensations. Such action to be taken only after due inquiry by the
Standing Inquiry Commission and appeal to the State Security
A Standing Inquiry Commission appointed by a panel of (i)
Chairman NHRC (ii) Chairman NCM (iii) Chairman CRC-for fixing
responsibility of the political executive, the administration and the
police for failure to prevent and control any riot / inter-group mass
Amendments of Existing Laws and Enactments of Effective Laws
Bringing the media under more effective regulatory procedure on reporting
and comments on events and issues having a bearing on communal discord,
including amendment of the Press Council Act empowering it to initiate
legal proceedings against erring media persons and publications. 9
Making existing laws on hate speech and writings more effective and
universally applicable. 7
Enactment of a law regulating activities of political parties and
social/ cultural organizations for prevention of communal discord.
Making the existing provisions under the law regulating processions
more effective, especially those which are likely to disturb communal
Enactment of a law on the rights of victims of all violence to
reparation and complete rehabilitation, and their protection and
participation in trial, providing for hate motive for violence /crime
as an aggravating factor in sentencing. 11
Amending the Inquiry Commission Act as applicable to (i) minor
communal violence (ii) major communal violence and social disorder.
In the event of major riots and disturbances, the appointing authority
should be a panel comprising the (i) Prime Minister (ii) Leader of the
opposition (iii) Chairman of the NHRC (iv) Chairman NCM (v) Chairman
The findings of the inquiry commission must be (a) time bound and (b)
binding on the government and legal proceedings to be undertaken by
the commission, including settlement of compensation and
- 8 .
Enactment of a central law on Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity
under Articles 355, 51 (c) and 253 of the Indian Constitution and
Article V of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the
Crime of Genocide and Article 20 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, that India has acceded to providing for (i)
accountability of the political executive, the administration and the
police, (ii) independent investigating agency (iii) independent
directorate of prosecutors (iv) special Courts and special procedure
(v) rights of the victims to restitution / reparation and complete
rehabilitation and for their protection and participation in the trial
as witnesses. 13
Delivery of Justice
The Commission should be open to the public to
submit representations and memoranda, documents and evidence.
The justice administration system to become more sensitive,
responsible and accountable while dealing with cases related to
communal conflicts/disputes and crimes.
The system to provide for special/specially designated Courts for
speedy disposal of cases in a manner that inspires confidence in all
sections of the public, especially the weak and vulnerable groups.
The composition of all the wings and components of the justice
administration system to be socially diverse with adequate minority
Training of the judicial officers, especially at the lower levels in
the expanding body of human rights law and norms applicable to
domestic situations, which require commitment of the institutions of
governance including the judiciary to end xenophobia, neglect,
discrimination and intolerance on the basis of race, ethnicity and
The Chief Justice of India to be requested to appoint a Commission to
review the functioning and record of the Judiciary at both subordinate
and higher levels to ascertain to what extent it has been responsible
for the pervasive climate of impunity obtaining in the country. 14
It is reassuring to us to note the universal concern expressed during
monsoon session of the Parliament in August 2005 over the 1984 anti-Sikh
massacre and the continuing denial of justice to the victims, which made
the Prime Minister tender apology on behalf of the nation to the oppressed
minority Sikh community.
We welcome the assurance given by the Prime Minister to bring the guilty
to justice and to take measures for full rehabilitation of all the
sufferers of the pogrom and to take action against politicians and
officers indicted by Justice Nanavati Commission. We note with
satisfaction that Shri Jagdish Tytler was made to resign from Union
Ministership and Sajjan Kumar had to step down from the Chairmanship of
Rural Development Board of the Delhi Government.
Though we note with satisfaction that payment of compensation of rupees
three lakhs and fifty thousand was made to the next of kin of all those
who were killed in Delhi in 1984 in compliance with the judgment of
Justice Anil Dev Singh of the Delhi High Court on 5 July 1996, 15 the
cases of similar compensation for those killed in Kanpur, Bokaro and
Jabalpur etc. in 1984 are still pending. We urge the Government of India
to get compensation paid uniformly to all sufferers of the Sikh Community
in 1984 in all parts of the country. Moreover there is a need for raising
the amount of compensation to at least five lakh rupees. We also note with
satisfaction that in compliance with the recent orders of the Delhi High
Court, the Government of Delhi Administration has agreed to increase ex-gratia
compensation to those injured in 1984 violence to Rs. 1.25 lakhs, besides
taking other rehabilitative measures like compensation for destroyed
houses and commercial property, stipends to children and employment to the
On this occasion we cannot refrain from expressing our anguish and
concern on the continuing denial of justice to the victims of other riots
and pogroms where largely Muslims have been the sufferers, like those in
Jabalpur (1961), Ranchi (1967), Ahmedabad (1969), Bhiwandi (1970),
Jamshedpur (1979), Moradabad (1980), Nellie (1983), Meerut (1982 &
1987),Bhagalpur (1989), Aligarh (1978 and 1990) and Mumbai and other
places (1992-93) and finally in Gujrat 2002.
It is not only that the guilty have been very rarely punished, ex-gratia
compensation paid to those who suffered loss of life and property have
ranged between a few thousand rupees to a lakh or so.
The nation need to feel ashamed of the shocking reality that the next of
kin of all those forty one Muslims brutally killed by the PAC in
Hashimpura, Meerut (1987) have been paid a mere Rs. 40,000/-
each. The writ petition for adequate compensation filed by victims in 1995
is still lying in the Court and the trial of the indicted PAC personnel is
yet to start.
In case of Gujrat the Apex Court has directed the petitioners to approach
the High Court for settling claims of compensation, although it has not
set aside Justice Anil Dev Singh’s judgment holding the State liable to
pay adequate compensation to the victims.
The statutory recommendation of the National Commission for Minorities
(1997)16 to uniformly apply the ratio of Justice Anil Dev
Singh’s judgment and its direction to pay all victims of similar
violence the same amount of compensation has been disregarded by most
Moreover no action was ever taken against politicians and officers
indicted by various Inquiry Commissions like Justice Madon Commission on
Bhiwandi riots (1970) Justice J.Narain, S.K.Ghosh and S.Q.Rizvi Commission
on Jamshedpur riots (1979), Justice Ram Chandra Prasad and Justice Shamsul
Hasan’s Report on Bhagalpur riots (1989) and Justice Srikrishna
Commission on Mumbai riots (1992-93) 17. This has been a
frustrating experience for the Muslim community. They are made to
feel that they do not enjoy equality of status as citizens and equal
protection of the laws, as guaranteed under the Constitution. It is bound
to cause the greater alienation in general and desperation in some
sections, who may feel tempted to seek desperate remedies.
In view of this we urge the Government of India and of the States
and Union Territories to appoint a Judicial Tribunal through an Ordinance
to urgently address the two issues of:
Adequate and equal compensation to sufferers of all riots.
Secular justice requires paying compensation and taking measures for
rehabilitation of surviving sufferers according to uniform standards
irrespective of faith.
Action against officials and political leaders indicted by all judicial
In case appointing Judicial Tribunal by the Central Government
appears problematic, the responsibility of settling compensation and legal
proceedings against indicted persons may be entrusted upon the National
Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The observations of the Supreme Court during the course of the hearing of
the Best Bakery case, especially in the judgment of 12 April 2004 severely
indicting Narendra Modi Government for subversion of process of justice. 19
Without waiting for the Report of Justice Nanavati Commission on
Gujarat, 2002 the Modi Government of Gujarat needs to be dismissed on
the following grounds.
The NHRC’s final report (May 2002) holding the State Government
of Gujarat responsible for failure of governance leading to
massive destruction of life, honour and property during
February-March 2002. 18
We believe in the process of reconciliation. But we
consider punishment of unrepentant guilty and full rehabilitation of
innocent victims as a precondition of any reconciliation.
- It needs to be kept in view that all the then
opposition parties, now constituting the UPA and its supporters had
stalled the proceedings of the Parliament for a number of days
demanding such dismissal under Article 356.
- After imposition of President’s rule in
Gujarat, the proposed model law should be enforced through a
Presidential ordinance for compensating the victims and punishing
Iqbal A. Ansari
See National Police Commission Report II, New Delhi, 1979.
See Appendices I and II; the Summary of the Recommendations of the
Report on Communal Riots: Prevention and Control. Iqbal
A. Ansari, Minorities Council New Delhi; (1999) and a note on
‘Community Relations Commission’.
Emphasis on secular attitudes and conduct of the police has obviously
figured in recommendations of all reports and guidelines from National
Integration Committee 1961 to Home Ministry’s ‘Guidelines to Promote
Communal Harmony’, New Delhi 1997, but it is advisable to focus on norms
of human rights of all persons and citizens and communities to equality
and non-discrimination, freedom and dignity--- It will require educational
inputs for destereotyping groups and communities.
If attempt is made during normal peaceful times to involve local people of
all strata and communities and dedicated social workers whose stakes in
peace are high, cooperative linkages can be effectively used for
prevention of aggravation of tension.
The National Commission To Review The
Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) in its Report 2002, has made
strong recommendation for carrying out “special recruitment of persons
belonging to the underrepresented minority communities in the police
forces of the States, paramilitary forces and armed forces.” The
Commission expressed the view that “this will instill confidence among
minority populations as well as help them to develop responsible attitudes
towards security issues confronting the nation.”
- 5.(i) Justice D. Madon in his report on Communal Disturbances at
Bhiwandi etc. in 1970 observed that it was necessary that in
recruitment to the police adequate representation was given to the
In their report on Communal Disturbances at Jamshedpur (1979) Justice
J. Narain and others made the observation that the composition,
training, discipline and leadership in the Bihar Military Police (BMP)
left much to be desired. It advised the Government to review the
composition of BMP and to make it a more discipline force.
- (iii) The National Police Commission
headed by Dharam Vira in its sixth Report (1981) reiterated its
observations made in the Third Report that “the composition of the
personnel in the police system as a whole should reflect the general
mix of communities as exists in society so that the system should
function impartially without any slant in favour of any
- The report agreed that “there is a strong
case for encouraging the recruitment of members of the minority
community and other weaker sections at various levels in the police
The P.M.’s Fifteen Point Programme on Minorities,
1983 also recommends giving special consideration to minorities in
the recruitment of police personnel by States and central
Governments and suggests that for this purpose the composition of
Selection Committees should be representative.
The recommendation for suitably amending provisions like Section 153A of
the IPC figures in NIC report, 1961.
The Home Ministry’s Guidelines to Promote Communal Harmony
issued on 22 October, 1997 makes the following recommendations.
- It has been commonly observed that the
presence of minority community members in the police force deployed
in communally sensitive areas goes a long way in winning the
confidence of the minority communities. This is of vital importance.
The following steps which were recommended from time to time, should
be taken earnestly:-
- Launching of Special Campaigns to recruit more
members of minorities in the State Police Force.
- Creation of composite battalions of armed
police which should include members of all religious communities
including SCs/ STs. for exclusive use in maintaining communal peace
and amity in the sensitive areas.
- Starting of special training/ orientations
programmes for State Police Force with a view to maintaining
The recommendation for fixing administrative responsibility of the
D.M and the S.P figured in 1961 NIC report, which was made more
specific in the NIC’s recommendations of June 1968 which says that
“the District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police should be
made personally responsible for prompt action to prevent or stop
communal disturbances” and that “failure to take prompt and
effective action should be considered a dereliction of duty and the
officers concerned should be dealt with accordingly. Service Rules
should be amended, if necessary”. The principle has been
reiterated ever since in most official pronouncements including the
Prime Minister’s Fifteen Point Programme on Minorities, 1983.
8 to 11.
- See discussion of desirability of such legal
provisions in the NCM Report Communal Riots: Prevention and
Control, 1999, written by Iqbal A. Ansari.
As the pattern of most major riots in the past reveals that it is
failure of governance that results in mass communal crimes, the same
Government of the State should not have the power to appoint
theinquiry commission deciding its composition and terms of
reference and the authority to reject its findings and
See relevant Appendices on the Draft Bills on Genocide/ Communal
Crimes and the article “Law on Mass Crimes and Victims Rights”
by Iqbal A. Ansari.
This will get illustrated by subjecting to critical scrutiny the
role of the judiciary in Ayodhya related cases from 1949 attachment
order to the judgment of 1994, and cases related to the
demolition of Babri Masjid.
- Moreover the pattern of dealing with a large
number of cases under 153A, including dismissal by the Bombay High
Court and the Supreme Court of the PIL against Bal Thackeray and many
cases of contempt of court and readiness of law courts to let cases
against rioters be withdrawn by the governments under the plea of
communal harmony, would be revealing and instructive.
Civil Writ Petition No. 1429 of 1996.
The National Commission For Minorities adopted the following
statutory resolution in November 1997: “The Ratio of the Delhi
High Court Judgment 1996 be treated as the general law for
awarding proper compensation to all the victims of all communal
riots, whenever in point of time, and wherever in the country,
they may have occurred.”
- The Chairman, NCM addressed a letter dated 13
November, 1997 on the subject to the Union Home Minister and Chief
Ministers of the State.
The following are the concluding observations of the
In its final report on Gujarat 2002 carnage released on 31 May 2002,
the NHRC makes the following observations:
- There was a comprehensive failure of the State
to protect the Constitutional rights of the people of Gujarat,
starting with the tragedy in Godhra on 27 February 2002 and
continuing with the violence that ensued in the weeks that followed.
The Commission has also noted in this connection that, on 6 May
2002, Rajya Sabha adopted with one voice the motion stating “That
this house expresses its deep sense of anguish at the persistence of
violence in Gujarat for over six weeks, leading to loss of lives of
a large number of persons, destruction of property worth crores of
rupees and urges the Central Government to intervene effectively
under article 355 of the Constitution to protect the lives and
property of the citizens and to provide effective relief and
rehabilitation to the victims of violence.”
- The tragic events in Gujarat, starting with
the Godhra incident and continuing with the violence that rocked the
State for over two months, have greatly saddened the nation. There
is no doubt, in the opinion of this Commission, that there was a
comprehensive failure on the part of the State Government to control
the persistent violation of the rights to life, liberty, equality
and dignity of the people of the State. It is, of course, essential
to heal the wounds and to look to a future of peace and harmony. But
the pursuit of these high objectives must be based on justice and
the upholding of the values of the Constitution of the Republic and
the laws of the land. That is why it remains of fundamental
importance that the measures that require to be taken to bring the
violators of human rights to book are indeed taken.
The following are some of the observations of the Supreme Court’s
bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice Doraiswami Raju
made in the judgment delivered on 12 April 2004 on Criminal Appeal
NOS 446-449/2004 arising out of the SLP (Cel.) No. 538-541/2004
regarding transfer and retrial of Best-Bakery case of Vadodra,
- If one even cursorily glances through the
records of the case, one gets a feeling that the justice delivery
system was being taken for a ride and literally allowed to be
abused, misused and mutilated by subterfuge. The investigation
appears to be perfunctory and anything but impartial without any
definite object of finding out the truth and bringing to book those
who were responsible for the crime. The public prosecutor appears to
have acted more as a defence counsel than one whose duty was to
present the truth before the Court. The Court in turn appeared to be
a silent spectator, mute to the manipulations and preferred to be
indifferent to sacrilege being committed to justice. The role of the
State Government also leaves much to be desired. One gets a feeling
that there was really no seriousness in the State’s approach in
assailing the Trial Court’s judgment. This is clearly indicated by
the fact that the first memorandum of appeal filed was an apology
for the grounds. A second amendment was done, that too after this
Court expressed its unhappiness over the perfunctory manner in which
the appeal was presented and challenge made. That also was not the
end of the matter. There was a subsequent petition for amendment.
All this sadly reflects on the quality of determination exhibited by
the State and the nature of seriousness shown to pursue the appeal.
Criminal trials should not be reduced to be the mock trials or
shadow boxing of fixed trials. Judicial Criminal Administration
System must be kept clean and beyond the reach of whimsical
political wills or agendas and properly insulated from
discriminatory standards or yardsticks of the type prohibited by the
mandate of the Constitution.
- Those who are responsible for protecting life
and properties and ensuring that investigation is fair and proper
seem to have shown no real anxiety. Large number of people had lost
their lives. Whether the accused persons were really assailants or
not could have been established by a fair and impartial
investigation. The Modern day “Neros” were looking elsewhere
when Best Bakery and innocent children and women were burning, and
were probably deliberating how the perpetrators of the crime can be
saved or protected. Law and justice become files in the hands of
these “wanton boys”. When fences start to swallow the crops, no
scope will be left for survival of law and order or truth and
justice. Public order as well as public interest become martyrs and
Indian Muslim Islamic News
Indian Muslim Organisation Press Releases / Statements
Subscribe to the PRINT
edition NOW: Get the COMPLETE picture
pages choke-full of news, views & analysis on the Muslim scene in
India & abroad...
Delivered at your doorstep, Twice a month