Towards a Riot Free Society in India

Towards a Riot Free Society in India

India has been subject to communal violence right from the first Post Partition riot of 1961 in Jabalpur. Later one saw the intensification of this violence in the decade of 1980, from which time it has become a major issue disrupting peace and amity amongst religious communities. The most disturbing of these riots have been the Anti-Sikh Pogrom of 1984 (Delhi) anti Muslim carnage of 1992-93 (Mumbai in particular) and 2002 (Gujarat). Anti Christian violence surfaced with the sporadic acts and went on becoming worsening, the burning alive of Pastor Graham Stains (1999) and Kandhmal violence of 2008 being the horrific example of this.

With this concern the UPA introduced a Bill to strengthen legal mechanism to deal with the violence. Somehow the bill as drafted earlier turned out to be ‘a remedy worse that disease’. Though this Bill is already in Rajya Sabha the human rights activists and representations from affected minority communities protested and pointed out the fallacies of the Bill. Responding to their anguish, UPA II gave the task of drafting the bill to National Advisory Committee. Two of whose members (Farah Naqvi and Harsh Mander) convened the Advisory Group with social activists to prepare a draft. After the intense efforts for over a period of one and a half years the draft is in the final stage May 2011), and has been put on its websites and is awaiting the final touch up before being submitted to the Government.

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A study of this draft reveals that for the first time a significant step in communal violence control has been undertaken in a most serious way. This Bill covers most of the points which lead to violence, add to sustaining it, and later lead to denial of justice. As such the most neglected areas of violence against women, the area of rehabilitation and reparation also get a prominent and adequate recommendation from this Bill.

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