Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NAC's Bill will kill harmony: A SURYA PRAKASH, Daily Pioneer

Daily Pioneer
NAC's Bill will kill harmony
July 25, 2011
The proposed Communal Violence Bill, which paints Hindus as criminals and
minorities as their victims, is downright dangerous.
Determined to promote its minority-appeasement agenda, the United
Progressive Alliance regime is readying itself to introduce an obnoxious
Bill that could disturb communal harmony, wreck the federal features of the
Constitution and give the Union Government a fresh set of excuses to
interfere in the governance of States.
The aim of this Bill - called the Prevention of Communal and Targetted
Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill - is ostensibly to curb
communal violence and hatred, but it rests on the flawed premise that in all
situations the religious majority perpetrates violence and members of the
religious minority are the victims. Therefore, ab initio it treats the
Hindus, who constitute the majority in 28 of the 35 States and Union
Territories, as the offenders and Muslims, Christians and other religious
minorities as the victims of communal hatred and violence. The draft of this
abominable law has come from the National Advisory Council, which has among
its members some pseudo-secularists, Hindu-bashers and Nehru-Gandhi camp
followers, all of whom have been hand-picked by its chairperson, Ms Sonia
The Bill describes "Communal and Targetted Violence" in Section 3 ( c ) as
"any act or series of acts . knowingly directed against any person by virtue
of his or her membership of any group". The biggest mischief is in the
definition of the word "group" that occurs in Section 3(e). It says a
"group" means "a religious or linguistic minority, in any State in the Union
of India, or Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.". This means that
Hindus, who today constitute the majority in most States and Union
Territories, will not constitute a "group" under this law and, therefore,
will not be able to invoke its provisions, even if they are victims of
Muslim or Christian communalism, hatred or violence.
In other words, if this law had been in force in 2002, the relatives of the
59 Hindus who were burnt to death by a Muslim mob at Godhra Station in
Gujarat would not have had the right to lodge an FIR under this law because
Hindus constitute a majority in that State, but the Muslims would have used
its provisions to prosecute the perpetrators of the post-Godhra violence. If
enacted, this Bill will amount to treating Hindu victims of communal
violence as second class citizens and would approximate to the kind of
anti-Hindu laws that prevail in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The Bill describes a "victim" as a member of a religious minority who has
suffered "physical, mental, psychological or monetary harm or harm to his or
her property as a result of the commission of any offence under this Act,
and includes his or her relatives, legal guardian and legal heirs, wherever
appropriate". Going by this description, a Muslim or Christian in most parts
of India who is aggrieved with a Hindu neighbour over some issue can turn
around and accuse him or her of causing "psychological harm". Further, if
the "victim" is not inclined to deploy this mischievous provision, the Bill
allows his or her relatives to do so.
Hindu-bashing appears to be the primary aim of this exercise. The Bill says
once enacted the law will extend to the whole of India. However, when it
comes to the only Muslim-majority State in the Indian Union - Jammu &
Kashmir - it says that "the Central Government may, with the consent of the
State of Jammu & Kashmir, extend the Act to that State". One must see what
other caveats will be put in place in respect of the only Muslim-majority
Union Territory - Lakshadweep - where Hindus constitute just 3.7 per cent of
the population.
However, though Hindus will bear the brunt of this Bill's obnoxious
provisions, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs could also find themselves in
trouble because the State is the unit to determine the issue of
majority-minority. As per the religion data in the 2001 Census, Sikhs
constitute 59.9 per cent of the population in Punjab, whereas the Hindu
population in that State is 36.9 per cent. If this law comes into force, the
Sikhs (constituting the majority) will face the music if Hindus begin
accusing them of promoting communal hatred and anti-secular policies.
Similarly, Christians, who have an overwhelming majority in three States -
Nagaland ( 90 per cent ), Mizoram ( 87 per cent) and Meghalaya (70.3 per
cent ) - will find themselves in deep trouble if the Hindu minority in these
States begins to leverage this law and lodge complaints against the
religious majority.
Therefore, citizens who are Muslims, Christians or Sikhs should not be taken
in by the claims of the Congress that this Bill will strengthen secularism.
Because this law does not treat all perpetrators of communal violence and
hatred equally, these citizens will face the heat in all States where they
are in a majority. Also, the demographic reality in some States will place
the Hindus at a disadvantage. For example, there are States like Manipur (46
per cent Hindu) and Arunachal Pradesh (34.6 per cent Hindu) where no
religious group has a clear majority. So, who is the "culprit" and who is
the "victim" in these States?
Further, if you exclude the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from the
Hindu population, what will be the percentage of Hindus in these States?
Kerala, with 56.2 per cent Hindus, is also a case in point. If you exclude
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (22 per cent approximately), what is
the percentage of the Hindu "majority" in that State? Can this so-called
"majority" be seen as the oppressor of the Muslim "minority" (24.7 per cent)
or the Christian "minority" (19 per cent)? The Bill also tends to intimidate
the bureaucracy and the police in the States. These provisions, which are
repugnant to the federal features of our Constitution, will have to be
discussed separately.
Finally, far from being a "Prevention of Communal and Targetted Violence
Bill", this is a "communal" and "targetted" Bill because it empowers only
religious minorities and targets not all communalists but only the religious
majority. Should Ms Gandhi and her cohorts have their way, the country's
unity and integrity will be in peril. Instead of promoting communal harmony,
this law will promote communal strife. Such a Bill could only have come out
of the Devil's workshop! It could not have been drafted by persons who care
for India's unity and integrity. Where has the original draft come from? We
must investigate.

With kind Regards,

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