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NEW DELHI: Terming the proposed Communal Violence Bill as “dangerous”, the BJP on Saturday opposed the legislation at the National Integration Council meeting here, saying it presumes that the majority community is always responsible for such riots.
“We feel that the Communal Violence Bill is a dangerous Bill as it harms the federal structure of the Constitution. It allows the Centre to hold all the powers. Moreover, it does not consider anybody a citizen and treats a person only as one belonging to either a majority or a minority,” leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told reporters.
Her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley and chief ministers of three BJP-ruled states — Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (Uttarakhand), Sadanand Gowda (Karnataka) and Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh) — echoed these sentiments at the NIC meeting.
The BJP made it clear that the Bill in its present form, which has been drafted by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, should not come to Parliament.
“You will write off a person as a criminal, just because he or she is born in a majority community and you will presume that a person would be a victim only because you are born in a minority community. This bill is very dangerous,” Swaraj said.
The main opposition insisted that if passed, this legislation will encourage communal tension instead of reducing it, as it seeks to divide the country into majority and minority communities.
“The draft bill presumes that the majority community is unjust, and the minority community is the victim. But in our country, various sections of community are in a minority in one state and a majority in another state. The provisions of the Bill will go against the majority community in various states,” Swaraj said.
Swaraj said that a person should be judged by his character and style of working, and not by the religion in which he or she is born.
She insisted that it is wrong for the proposed Act to presume that those belonging to the majority community are always guilty of starting communal violence.
“It is also wrong to assume that a person born in a particular community would belong to the majority everywhere in the country. Some communities are a majority in one region and a minority in another,” the BJP leader said.
Citing examples, she said Christians may be a minority in north India but are a majority in some north-east states. Similarly, the Muslims would be a majority in some pockets and a minority in others.
The BJP also argued at the NIC meeting that a discussion on communal violence at this juncture was not at all relevant as there have been no instances of such acts in the recent past.
“There have been two major terror incidents in Mumbai and Delhi recently. The incidents of naxal attacks are also on the rise. Therefore, today’s agenda is not relevant as there has been no incident of communal violence in the country in the recent past. A discussion on naxalism and terrorism would have been more productive,” Swaraj said.
She also pointed out that holding a meeting of the NIC once in three years make the body virtually redundant and this should be an annual affair. The last NIC meeting was held in 2008.