Communal Violence Bill not a vote-catching gimmick: Manmohan Singh

MuzaffarnagarManmohan Singh rejected the charge that it was a 'vote-catching gimmick' and said it was time to control aberrations like the Muzaffarnagar riots. (PTI)

Faced with stiff opposition from BJP and some non-Congress parties over the Communal Violence Bill, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday rejected the charge that it was a "vote-catching gimmick" and said it was time to control "aberrations" like the Muzaffarnagar riots.

"It is not a vote-catching gimmick.....What happened in Muzaffarnagar and some other parts of our country is a reminder that although as a country, we can take pride in our ability to protect all the people of our country, yet there are times when aberrations take place.

"This bill, if it is passed by Parliament, will help to control those aberrations," the Prime Minister said replying to a question at a conclave organised by a daily.

Singh noted that in the last five or six years, the country has been been grappling with the problem of communal riots in some parts of the country. "And our effort has been to create an environment where officers would have the responsibility to look after the law and order situation as effectively as is humanly possible.

"Plus also if riots cannot be prevented, there should be adequate compensation for the victims of the riots. These are two basic principles, which underlines what is the purpose of the Communal Violence Bill. I think it is a bill, whose time has come," the Prime Minister said.

His remarks came amid Centre's move to drop several provisions to ensure that the legislation is neutral between communities.

The Centre's move came amid protests from the BJP and other parties like AIADMK to certain provisions of the bill. Singh had yesterday said that government will try to evolve a broad-based consensus on issues which are of "great" legislative importance. BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Thursday dubbed the bill as a "recipe for disaster".

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