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Laws to deal with communal riots inadequate: Rahman Khan

October 21, 2013 18:02 IST

Noting that Muzaffarnagar riots have underlined inadequacies in existing laws to deal with such clashes, Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan on Monday pitched for introduction of the Communal Violence Bill in Winter Session of Parliament.

Asked if the United Progressive Alliance would table the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill in the next session of Parliament, he told PTI that he was in its favour "but the decision has to be taken by the government".

A law on the lines of the Bill would have fixed accountability for Muzaffarnagar riots and helped victims who are still waiting for rehabilitation, he said.

The communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas last month claimed 62 lives and displaced over 40,000 people. Khan dismissed the BJP's claim that the Congress-led

government is pushing for the Bill with an eye on elections, saying it has been under consultation for a long time and the government's job is to function "till the last day".     

The BJP has dubbed the Bill as "anti-majority" while some regional parties feel it violated federal principles by giving overriding powers to the Centre in several aspects.

"I do not see why it should be opposed by any party. It is not any community specific. Any communal violence should be curbed and there should a law for that," he said.

Khan said he had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde after the riots, pushing for tabling of the Bill in Parliament and Shinde wrote back to him, saying it is "under consideration".

The BJP reacted angrily to the move and accused the Congress of trying to "communalise" country before elections.

"We are in support of a law to stop communal violence. But in this Bill some provisions were made deliberately to target certain organisations and groups. Let's see in what form it comes to Parliament," party spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

Another party leader Balbir Punj said that the UPA is resorting to diversionary tactic. "They (UPA) are trying to force communal political agenda...trying to communalise the country," he said.

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