Communal Violence Bill: Is it Really 'Dangerous'?

September 11, 2011

India is a land of several religions, languages, races, castes and several other forms of categorizations. India is an economic powerhouse, with 42% of Indians below the poverty line but the 4th richest man in the world is an Indian. A country of 1.25 billion and vast, it is impossible to imagine India without its diversity.

Communal Violence was not a phenomenon prior to 1857 as there was cohesion, forced conversions, tax on religious or linguistic minorities. The society hierarchy was strictly defined and resentment did not lead to violence. After the British took over the reins of administration, religion was not an important factor in administration. Laws were same for all citizens and Priests were not involved in statecraft. Communal Violence erupted due to different causes. The first recorded communal violence over Babri Masjid was in 1886. The British followed a policy of Divide and Rule and communal violence became the reality of the day. Communalism led to the division of the country and supported several secessionist movements. The violence in 1947-48 killed over 200,000 people in states of Punjab and Bengal.  Since then communal violence has been reported due to several reasons in different parts of the country.

Over 96% of the cases relating to communal violence never get justice in a court of law. It has been found that Law Enforcement agencies tend to favor the majority community. In Gujarat Riots of 2002, Police arrested twice the number of people from Minority Communities than it did from the Majority community. The number of dead from the minority community was also more than twice of the majority community. The recent instances of violence has followed similar pattern in Mangalore or Orissa. 

The National Advisory Council is a body composed of social activists and intellectuals, has come up with a bill under the chairmanship of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi for the protection and justice in case of riots or communal violence. A draft version has been put up on its web site, after incorporating the public suggestions, it would be sent to the Government. The Government would circulate the draft to its different ministries, amend the bill, get it approved by the Cabinet and then send it to the Parliament. The parliament would deliberate in the Standing Committee, where people can participate in the discussions. Then it would again be discussed and passed by the Parliament. The President would then approve it to make it law. Only the first draft is ready and people have strongly criticized it, opposed it and even threatened fasts. But the Right to Information Act draft of the NAC underwent more than 162 amendments in the process of being passed. More recently, the Food Security Bill from the NAC has also been altered by the Cabinet and the Government.

The Communal Violence Bill acknowledges for the first time that the crimes committed during the communal violence are different from regular crimes. Courts have often found it difficult to identify who exactly stabbed, when the mob is involved. Since the eyewitnesses have been a part of the mob, cases have filed in the courts. The Bill states that everyone in the mob would be held equally accountable. It also acknowledges that mob violence has a purpose!

Since independence, India has followed a policy of Social Justice. It has helped the backward communities attain a sense of social equality but at the same time, the preferential treatment has ensured that India has never been able to weave a united society. But, when it came to courts of law, everyone regardless of their gender or any other categorization has been equal. No one has been given a preference. This was challenged for the first time in the Domestic Violence Act, where women were given preference.

The Communal Violence Bill gives preferential treatment to minorities and Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes. This has been based on the experience of Gujarat, where it was felt that minorities require special protection. The definition of minorities would be based on the state. Hence Muslims would be minority in all of India, but not in Jammu and Kashmir. The definition of minority is based on religion and language.

Tulu speakers are minority in Karnataka but would be a majority in Mangalore city. If a group of Kanada speakers get attacked by Tulu speakers in Mangalore, they would not be able to seek justice using this Act. Indian cities have become cosmopolitan in nature, where one building has people belonging to different religions and speaking different languages. It is difficult to identify majority and minority in times of crisis.

There are other issues with the Communal Violence Bill with regard to the definition of group. A group is not an official entity, carrying Identity Cards. Sometimes onlookers get arrested for violence of a mob. It must go deeper into analyzing it.

We as a society has have faced violence from other groups; at times we have caused violence. In the 21st Century, Language and Religion are not the only ways of identifying with a community, rather in UK, one saw that Economic Divisions can also lead to mob violence. Laws should be broad and protect anyone who is attacked. It should ensure justice for all and not create injustice in any situation.

Preamble of the Constitution assures equality and laws should follow the premise. As a society we should aim to create a unified society with mutual trust and understanding. At some point of time in history, all of us have faced violence or been violent. We should forgive the past to create a new future.

By Ayush Prasad
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Comment on this article

  • Juliana, Udupi

    Wed, Sep 14 2011

    If mob is enjoying the killing of citizens as could be viewed from You tube Kandhamal what is your opinion dear Mr?

  • Gurudath, M'lore/Mumbai

    Wed, Sep 14 2011

    This bill is against natural justice. All mobs should be treated as equal. Besides if you were walking on the road when a mob is attacking somebody you might be held responsible! This is outright stupid. This bill deserves to be rejected outright.

  • lukas, malpe

    Tue, Sep 13 2011

    some cases should trail in interanational court like libya leader Gujartat 2000 people died following death of Kar Sevak.even main accused who killed Kara sevak came out of jail lack of under same government how we will accept justice for the murder of 2000 people. may be Modi will escape justice of indian court not infront of GOD

  • Judith L, Mumbai

    Tue, Sep 13 2011

    Sadanand Shetty, in Orrisa the swami was killed by maoist as claimed by them and the christians were tormented. In mangalore also, the christians were tornmented for no fault of theirs as claimed by the perpetrator, Mahendra Kumar himself, it was done by BJP to win the elections Hence the bill becomes a need for protecting the minority. but how far it it will be effective, needs to be seen. How much is bjp/rss/vhp doing productive work for the hindus. there are so many who want basic needs but they are spending money only on rath yatras and provoking people. if they are really concerned about hindus why they are not providing atleast basic needs.

    On Daiji website itself so many are pleading for help but they are not receiving it. This all political gimmick in which common man gets affected, Ayush very well written I am happy most of the Indian youth today think on social and development terms and are not religiously inclined. congress is not doing any good work agreed but atleast they are not causing any rifts and attacks between people of the country.

  • mahendra shetty, mumbai,dubai

    Mon, Sep 12 2011

    Well said Mr. Sachidanand Shetty, Dubai. What happened in Gujarat its GANDHGI cleaned. Finally majority community took a days these minority names called attacking India every where...India's Govt playing vote bank politics only..Now Supreme Court gave Clean Chit to Modiji...Victory for Gr8 leader.......

  • UVS, Mangalore

    Mon, Sep 12 2011

    How many of those commented supported TADA.It was also required but termed draconian. Do you think a Hindu in Mizoram is protected under this law

  • Girish Kumar, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    no it is not 'Dangerous'it is 'Dangerous' only to the people who are real trouble makers in the name of Religion. this bill is not going to effect every decent Hindu, Muslim, Christan, Sikh or any other community. this bill is good in one way or the other.

  • Juliana, Udupi

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    What is the solution in the Bill when majority community leader commands in public gathering of the community to finish a minority community and those gathered act accordingly.

  • George Cruz, Mangalore/USA

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    Well said Mr. Sachidanand Shetty, Mundkur/Dubai.

  • M Patel, India

    Mon, Sep 12 2011

    Facts about CVB (Communal Violence Bill a.k.a Anti-Hindu Blasphemy Bill):

    1) Only a person belonging to majority community can be booked under draconian provision of CVB. Under no circumstances CVB will apply to minority.

    2) All verbal or written attack on Hinduism are allowed under free-speech but exact same attack on non-hindu religion means jail time under draconian CVB.

    3) In a group clash, CVB is explicitly anti-majority, and automatically assumes guilt regardless of who is attacker and defender. For example, Had Godhra train passengers successfully repealed the attack and injured few attackers then event would be dubbed as group clash and Passengers would have draconian CVB slapped on their wrist.

    Many aspects of India's CVB are worse than Pakistan and other islamic countries blasphemy laws.
    In reality, CVB is both, Anti-Hindu and Blasphemy law. So my urgent appeal to all: please call it "Anti-Hindu Blasphemy Bill". If we can popularize the term "Anti-Hindu Blasphemy Bill" then half the battle is won.

  • Syed Mohiddin Saheb, Sastan / Muscat

    Mon, Sep 12 2011

    To maintain PEACE and HARMONY, there should be a proper LAW and ORDER. Whoever breaks the LAW and ORDER, they should be punished strictly and immediately. There should not be any biased verdict or injustice. The culprits,Goondas, Dadas, Rowdies,or so-called patriotic Religious or Political Leaders (whoever it may be)should be punished, if they are involved,directly or indirectly, in any Communal Violence. Dirty politics should be kept to maintain PEACE & HARMONY of Nation. Proper Education to ALL may be one of the solution

  • shiva, mangalore

    Mon, Sep 12 2011

    Who is majority or minority in a place? How is a place defined? If it is a muslim mohalla even in a city where 90% are Hindus who is majority there? If the attacking group is from minority community and the majority community retaliates in return? These have to be cleared in the bill before it is passed. Also, I seriously doubt the intentions of the law makers in India. The govt through this bill will not have to pay any compensation and will not define responsibility in cases of terrorist activity against the majority community but will hold the majority community responsible for any retaliation that may happen due to that. The govt first should try to stop all the bomb blasts first before coming out with this law. The acts of Malegaon, Godhra riots and Samjhauta were acts of revenge by few people from right wing political parties and were not planned by majority community as a whole.

  • A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    The third paragraph " over 96% of
    the cases" the key reason why
    a national "communal violence bill"
    is an absolute necessity to protect the defenceless minorities.

    The eight paragraph " Tulu Speakers are minority in Karnataka"
    will create serious complication and confusion in the bill.

    There should have a solid law in the land where the minorities in every part of India must have their freedom and total
    protection from persecution. If the majority is educated with social conscience in any part of India, they are not going to bother the minorities but if they lack both education and
    social conscience, it is very easy
    for the politicians to make use of them to torture the defenceless

  • R Mallar, Kasaragod/ Dubai

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    The intention of the legislation may be good, but due to politicking, it will be misused. Example of one Gujarat (every body has forgotten attacks on Sikhs in 1984) in the last 65 years of independence cannot be used to justify the bill.
    Various central governments misused the provision of central rules in states in the past. This bill would be another tool to misuse in opposition ruled states.
    How can the things go wrong? An opposition political party in the state can instigate (happened in Karnataka as well) a communal violence to discredit the state government and then request for central intervention. In this case, thugs of this party can actually attack/ kill the minorities to prove the point. Ok. Central government takes action etc. etc. But the victims' loss can't be compensated.
    Let us not create another Mandal/ Masjid kind of issue please. (Practically Bofors created Mandal and Mandal created Masjid!Politics has no rules.) MMS listening?
    One correction for the above article - tax based on religion (Jaziya) was imposed on majority community by Moghuls and not otherway round.

  • Lancelot N Tauro, Manglore - Doha Qatar

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    Mr. Kiran, Manglore, this communal bill never say majority or minority, Moreover Majoity secular minds doent want see Indians becoming terrorist, communal based attacks like Gujart massacre, Orissa, Malegaon bomb blast,series of bombblast in mumbai, Hyderabad charminar blasts etc.... Be Optimistic yaar and true Indian.

  • Peter, Brahmavar/Sharjah

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    Truth is Truth, Crime is crime.Any violence whether it is communal violence,comminity violance,minority violance, majority violance. Every violance is crime and funished. There is no law required to determine crime in which category it falls.

  • Jude, Mangalore Dubai

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    I simply don't understand this majority and minority nonsense. It is true that justice has not been served to the victims of the New Delhi 1984 riots and the Gujarat riots and also similar other incidents in Orrissa and elsewhere. We need a strong anti communal bill which punishes the culprits whoever they are, irrespective of their religion, power base, be it an ordinary person, government servant or a political heavyweight. Anyone who instigates, supports or commits these crimes is a criminal and should be punished.

    Any government servant who is in a position to stop the violence, but turns the otherway also is equally responsible and should be punished. There is no need to give it a religious colour. If there are issues that will hurt any particular section, then these should be debated and amendments brought it. The bill in the end should be totally impartial, strong, just and secular in nature, accepted by all and feared by all criminals.

  • prashanth, mangalore/kuwait

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    please do read the entire draft and then find the loopholes in would be great if Daijiworld puts a copy of the draft such that people can read the exact content and then air thier views rather than listening to someone and commenting in general...i never saw a word called majority or minority...the rules are so strict that even the public servants too will be held responsible...all should read the entire clauses and then tell the s.

  • kiran, mangalore

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    Lancelot N Tauro, Manglore - Doha Qatar..secual doesnt mean thrash majoirty comunity and minority can do whaterever they wish..
    no one is opposing equal rule and right..but as per this mumbai attack ajmal kasab is innocent and people killed by ajmal kasab are culprits..bcos ajmal kasab is from minoirty and people killed by him are from minority religion.

  • Prashanth, mangalore/kuwait

    Mon, Sep 12 2011

    Dr S Kamath clause 136 clearly says that state can add its procedures duely passed from the assembly..instead of criticising the bill find the required amendments.this is the  draft , same as Jan Lokpal bill let it reach till parliament and get proper ammendment.but the baseline is that it is a well needed bill for the safe guard of the communal violence in India...which covers entire India...

  • Praveen Kumar, Mangaluru/Bengaluru

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    shankar, kundapur Who told you that only BJP creates problem. Did you forget the 1984 sikh massacre by congress.

  • Fredrick Correa, Nairobi, Kenya

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    In Orissa, the religious leader was killed by the Maoists and they claimed the killing. There was no reason why the Christians were held responsible for his killing.
    People who claim to love the laws of the land, take the law in their own hands when it suits them.

  • Lancelot N Tauro, Manglore - Doha Qatar

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    Point to be noted sir, THOSE who dont believe in secular, healthy and peace environment will opppose this bill. Relegious tolerance must be taught to communal minded. Thats all your honor. Thank you


    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    Nice article....keep it up Ayush.
    May Almighty give you long aayush(life).The scope of the bill should include caste and sect riots. There have been large anti-brahmin, pro -gujjar, pro- Ambedkarite, anti shia riots to name few instances.

  • Dr S kamath , Mumbai

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    Ayush Your artivle is good in language but I differ on the Following points

    1.Your statement:Tulu speakers are minority in Karnataka but would be a majority in Mangalore city.If a group of Kanada speakers get attacked by Tulu speakers in Mangalore, they would not be able to seek justice using this Act is wrong because as per the bill Tulu speakers are a Linguistic Minority in Karnataka and Kannads are majority there is no district wise segregation .In Mumbai Muslims are considered as Minority but in areas like Jogeshwari and Bhiwandi Muslims are a majority .In Such areas for Eg Bhiwandi there are instances in which a Policeman was killed

    2. In some North east states Chistians are considered as Majority. In karkala city of karnataka Konkanis(GSB) are considered as Minority but in fact they are Majority in Number within the city.

    3.You have stated that It has been found that Law Enforcement agencies tend to favor the majority community but you have not stated the fact that SACHAR COMITTE has found that 35% of Prisoners in India are Muslims ( sorry to say this some of my Friends are Muslims and they are very good in Character )and this Bill doesnt find Muslims as Majority no laws are applicable for J and K hence Kashmiri Pandits are unprotected

    4.You have missed an Important Defect in BILL that is it is against the federal structure that means the Central Governement appointed body squarely blaming the State Police Force all the time .Thus instead INCLUDE GOODPOINTS IN IPC


    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    Mr.Ayush, you have elaborately made it a point that, what is the need of the hour? Whether for names sake to oppose outside the Parliament, or inside, systematically.
    We, all the citizens of the India, should know basics of the Protest.

  • MOhammed Shamseer, India

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    Hi Ayush,

    I liked the way you wrote. Introduction stuff and all. :)

  • niranjan sahoo, bhubaneswar

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    I do not understand why communial violence bill is coming. Govt. shoud identify the guilty and punish him but do not punish good people.It is established fact. If so , why innocent people will penalise after communial clash is over. UPA should thing before implementing the bill regarding sikh violence in Delhi and not hunting Gujrat tooth and nail . Of course law will take on its own course. Nowdays every political parties sacrifising country intest only see their career though vote bank . hanks.

  • Vivian, Dubai

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    Well wriiten Ayush..Keep it up ur good articales...

  • Sachidanand Shetty, Mundkur/Dubai

    Sun, Sep 11 2011

    Dear Ayush, good article to read but difficult to digest too.
    Let me clarify one thing. Why the communal riots will happen? Because minority religion try to take control over majority by hurting their sentiments, as you mentioned in recent pasts especially in Mangalore and Orissa, communal unrests happens just because minority cross the limit of religious tolerance of majority. For your kind info, in Mangalore it was kind of communal unrests only but thank God due to well behavior from all religious followers there was no bloodshed on the road. Whereas in Orissa, it was gone far beyond control due to starting with killing of Hindu Religious Person along with 3 innocent citizen including one child too and then the fights starts and its called repercussion and collateral damage too. In Gujarat its started with live burning of 48 devotees in One Railway Bogey and then 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus lost their life in the violence after the train incident. About 200,000 Muslims and 40,000 Hindus were displaced. Now can we explain why did 254 Hindus lost their life even though trouble started by other minority religion
    Though you call me Religious Fanatics, but I strongly support to take revenge when any religious people kill other religious people even though the figures stands double the first affected religion causalities


    Sat, Sep 10 2011

    Number of bills came and gone. The very mind-set of the the U.P.A. government should be changed as rotten politicians are passing comments and beheaving just to get themselves in news and they are dangerous to our country. It is a well known fact that the even after sixty years of independence the so called Gandhian are trying to capture power by influencing religion and caste. By saying everytime using word Minority they are proveking majority community in every aspect and cheating the minorities for vote banking. When all are equel in law of land what made them to introduce new bill instead of implimenting the existing one. Further, if any incident happens, educated fool, power-mongers even goondas referring minority card in every field to escape from wrong doings,even in parliment and assembly also, creating a sense that the mojorities are being suppressed in the country. Concentrate on providing concessions and other benefits by-passing economically backward and intellegent people are being deprived in the name of minority, and continuing benefits after development causing gap in different communities. For studying all these paraties a committee has to be appointed instead of introducing new communal violence bill under the head of Retired Supreme Court Judge from all religious,civil and social society members instead of with political leaders. The Communal
    Violence Bill is politically motivated with intention ofVote-banking, and consperacy by some U.P.A partner.

  • shankar, kundapur

    Sat, Sep 10 2011

    i agree with Dave, BJP always creates problem... they don't want peace in this country, if there is peace, they can't challenge and can't win..

  • Dave, Mangalore

    Sat, Sep 10 2011

    Very Good Article-Ayush
    You have shed light on what its contents,intentions & future course a bill needs to be implemented.
    Instead of protesting & opposing the bill-let BJP air its views in Parliament & bring in amendments towards the Bill becoming impartial tool to punish all the guilty & future conflagrations of Riots would become thing of the past in Modern Times by participating constructively than destructively to derail the Bill.

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