‘Congress ran away when 1992-93 riots broke out’

Yusuf Muchhala

Smita Nair: When someone like Bal Thackeray gets a state honour, what do you think? You have been closely interacting with the (minority) community, what was its sentiment, reaction?

Muchhala: It was not a correct decision. Though there was no conviction, he faced serious allegations. Such honour was not required. It was a decision of the Chief Minister.

Swatee Kher: What changes do you expect in law?

Muchhala: There is nothing wrong with the laws. The problem is implementation. We have 153 (a), 295 (a). Prosecution under these IPC sections happens only if the government grants sanction. The government does not.

If it does, it does after many years. By then, evidence is lost and so is the purpose. There is no political will to implement laws. There is no accountability in our system of law.

Accountability can be brought by introducing Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill that is pending consideration by so many forums.

Commissions after commissions have made the same observation, if the local administration is vigilant it can control riots within 24 hours. In many cases, riots were controlled. Accountability, along with the aspect of justice after riots and rehabilitation, can be covered in the Bill. Unfortunately, so many political parties are opposing it on the pretext of federalism.

Mayura Janwalkar: Coming to hate speeches. How can we ensure the law does not deny freedom of speech and at the same time is not misused?

Muchhala: There must be a proper system in place. We already have a law under IPC and its validity has been upheld by Supreme Court. Existing laws should be properly used.

Sukanya Shetty: A majority of 1992-93 riot cases were closed as "A summary", which means true but undetected. Were the reports not filed before a magistrate, a pre-requisite?

Muchhala: No, none of the reports was filed before a magistrate. It was all done at the police level, a wrong practice. It is actually for the magistrate to decide. Unfortunately, nobody raised the issue.

... contd.

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