The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday said it will "unequivocally" oppose the Communal Violence Bill when it comes up for discussion and passage in Parliament as it is a "threat" to communal harmony and an "attack" on the federal structure.
The main opposition charged the intent of Congress behind bringing this Bill in Parliament when elections are just a few months away "smacks of communal and polarising politics".
The ‘Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill is with the Standing Committee. Though it is not on the government's agenda in the coming winter session of parliament, sources said it may be taken up if the panel sends it to the House.
"Even earlier, BJP had voiced its opposition to the Communal Violence Bill. We shall unequivocally oppose this Bill as it is a threat to the communal harmony of India," party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
She alleged the new amended Bill proposes to impose duties on the central and state governments so that they prevent and control targeted violence, while exercising their powers.
"The earlier version was highly discriminatory in that based on one’s birth in a particular religious community one was pre-slotted as an accused, or as a victim. Its typical feature was prejudice and not equality before law," Sitharaman said.
BJP said this pet project of the National Advisory Council, headed by Sonia Gandhi, was introduced two years ago but was opposed by several chief ministers across parties.
Sitharaman said the Tamil Nadu chief minister has already voiced her opposition to the Bill on the grounds that several provisions of this amended Bill encroach on state subjects implying that its federal structure is being shaken.
"It is suspected with reason that this new draft bill will interfere with the functioning of state governments and undermine their relevance as elected governments," she added.