Communal violence Bill facing opposition from non-Cong states

Communal violence billBJP has strongly opposed the proposed legislation and termed it as "dangerous" and "anti-majority", saying it will harm the federal structure of the Constitution. (PTI)

The controversial communal violence bill, which aims at protecting minorities from targeted attacks, is facing stiff opposition from non-Congress state governments and BJP even before its proposed introduction in the winter session of parliament beginning Thursday.

Following a directive from Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami Tuesday held a meeting with Home Secretaries of all states as part of the government's bid to build a consensus on the proposed bill.

The draft bill largely sticks to the provisions in the 'Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2013' prepared by Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council (NAC).

However, representatives of non-Congress state governments have expressed strong reservations against various provisions in the bill saying it would infringe the federal structure of the country.

Those states, which have strongly opposed the bill, were West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.

This comes even as the Home Ministry is preparang to move ahead with the bill which has been hanging fire for several years.

The bill proposes to impose duties on the Centre and state governments and their officers to exercise their powers in an impartial and non-discriminatory manner to prevent and control targeted violence, including mass violence against religious or linguistic minorities, SCs and STs.

The bill also proposes constitution of a body National Authority for Communal Harmony, Justice and Reparation by the Centre to exercise the powers and perform the functions assigned to it under this Act.

Some state governments strongly opposed the setting up of such a "supervisory body".

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley today said the bill was "highly discriminatory" and aimed at polarising the country on communal lines.

"It appears that on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections, in order to polarize the country on communal lines, the Ministry of Home Affairs has again written a letter to the state governments enclosing therewith revised draft of the bill.

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