The Center’s move came amid protests from the BJP and other parties like AIADMK to certain provisions of the bill.
Manmohan Singh had said on Dec 5that government will try to evolve a broad-based consensus on issues which are of “great” legislative importance. BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had Thursday dubbed the bill as a “recipe for disaster”. Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had said the government will bring the ‘Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2013 in the Winter Session of Parliament.
Government sources said the fresh initiative to amend the provisions of the draft Bill has been taken in the wake of criticism by BJP, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
The draft bill is now made neutral between all groups or communities and the Central government will not have any perceived overriding powers anywhere. The earlier version of bill specifically mentioned that the onus of riots lay on the majority community. The fresh draft says, “If the state government is of the opinion that assistance of the Central government is required for controlling communal violence, it may seek the assistance of the Central government to deploy armed forces of the Union for such purposes...” Earlier, the Center was given unilateral powers to send central paramilitary forces during the outbreak of communal violence without consulting the state government. BJP has maintained it will oppose the legislation when it comes up for discussion in Parliament on the ground that it would be a “threat to India’s communal harmony.” (PTI)