BJP Says Congress Polarises, Does 'Appeasement Politics'; Brings Up Communal Violence Bill of 2011

1 month ago

Reported By: Pallavi Ghosh

Last Updated: April 23, 2024, 14:41 IST

 PTI/File)

The Communal Violence Bill of 2011 was the brainchild of the national advisory council headed by Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. (Image: PTI/File)

The UPA government had to shelve the Communal Violence Bill, or the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011, under pressure from the BJP and Left parties

The Congress manifesto has become a tug-of-war topic between the grand old party and the BJP. Following his ‘wealth redistribution’ remark, the Congress reported Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Election Commission of India accusing him of using diversionary tactics. In fact, the party is planning to send copies of its manifesto to the prime minister to make a point that he lied about the Congress promising special benefits to Muslims.

The party said Prime Minister Modi is nervous about losing the Lok Sabha elections. This, especially after senior leader Rahul Gandhi said a survey on wealth accumulation will be conducted in the country, so that the benefits are not enjoyed by only a few.

But, the BJP has now scored a point by stepping back in history. It is making a reference to the Communal Violence Bill, as it was called, or the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011.

The UPA government had to shelve it under pressure from the BJP and Left parties, as it was seen as being used ahead of the elections to woo the Muslims and score political points. According to the BJP and other parties, this law, if passed, would give unfettered rights to the government. For example, it allowed action against the state governments if it failed to prevent communal riots.

The bill was the brainchild of the national advisory council headed by Sonia Gandhi. Then too, the BJP said the entire bill was focused on violence or crime against one group; and this group as per the BJP is the minority.

Arun Jaitley, who had argued against this bill in Rajya Sabha, had then said: “It is an obnoxious legislation, which presumes that all crimes are committed against the minorities.”

Critics of the bill said by nature it is communal or has communal connotations. For example, it describes the target of crime as a “group which means religious or linguistic minority in any state or SC and ST”.

Also, while defending the Bill when it was introduced in Parliament, the Congress cited the Gujarat riots as one example why it was needed. The BJP had then accused the Congress of a witch hunt and presenting a politically motivated bill.

The UPA had defended itself saying it was needed to protect all, and that it was a fact that the backward communities and minorities were most vulnerable. When News18 spoke to senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was in the UPA government, he said: “Forget the bills, the people of the country know what is happening on the ground.”

The Bill is being shown by the BJP as another evidence how the Congress has played the minority appeasement card and ended up causing polarisation. And not, in fact, the BJP.

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Pallavi Ghosh

Pallavi Ghosh has covered politics and Parliament for 15 years, and has reported extensively on Congress, UPA-I and UPA-II, and has now included the F

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