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Government didn't defend communal violence bill draft: NAC member

Friday October 14, 2011 11:04:24 AM, IANS

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New Delhi: The draft of the proposed communal violence bill, prepared by the National Advisory Council (NAC), is being treated by the government as an "orphan", said member of the Sonia Gandhi-led advisory body Harsh Mander.

"The NAC draft bill came under attack from the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party during the National Integration Council meet September 11. But the government did nothing to defend it," Mander said while addressing the first Iqbal Ansari memorial lecture on 'Communal Violence in India: Ending Impunity' here at the India Islamic Cultural Centre Thursday evening.

There is still no communication from the government on the draft bill, he said.

The NAC had taken up the responsibility to draft the bill afresh last year after dropping the government's draft. It had sent its recommendations in July to the government on the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011.

The BJP had attacked the draft bill stating it was against the federal structure as it made state officials accountable for communal violence. They said the bill was silent on any incident where the majority community was the victim.

Mander, who left the Indian Administrative Service after the 2002 Gujarat communal riots, said accountability of public officials, rights of victims and uniform standards for the affected in case of communal violence are the basic tenets of the NAC drafted bill.

Criticizing the government for giving more powers to the state in its draft, Mander said the NAC draft aimed to "end communal riots and the tradition of impunity" in the country.

"Tradition of impunity," he said, "is like an assurance that somebody who commits a crime would go unpunished."







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