A discussion held on Communal Violence Bill 2009 at the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi on July 24, 2010 was part of a chain of efforts made by the All India Milli Council (AIMC) and Institute of Objective Studies (IOS). The participants rejected the bill terming it purposeless in its present form and unanimously demanded amendment in it to make it effective to control the violence and provide justice to the affected people.
Opening the discussion, renowned economist Dr Abu Saleh Sharif said that Communal Violence Bill was an appreciable step towards assurance of security to the lives and properties of the poor people generally affected during communal violence. “However, it will be dangerous if the present Bill in its present form becomes act because it will not curb the malaise but will make oppressor more powerful and increase injustice with the oppressed section of the people,” he said.
He said the bill was passed by Rajya Sabha in 2005 but in the wake of the severe opposition from the civil society it could not become a law. In 2009 it was revised but it still could not satisfy its opponents. The civil society wanted a new draft, he averted.
While discussing the partisan role of the judiciary, former Police official and Agra University vice chancellor Manzoor Ahmed said who could deny the fact that eleven persons were killed inside the Meerut and Fatehgarh prisons after the Meerut riots of 1987 while they were still in the judicial custody.
He emphasized upon the point that the actual problem was of political will and determination. He opined that in such incidents sanction from the government for initiating cases against the officers concerned should not needed, he asserted.
In this connection, he recalled that permission was sought to initiate legal action against 70 persons in the incidents of Maliana and Hashimpura but sanction was made only against 19 persons and after much difficulty the case could be transferred to the courts of Ghaziabad and Delhi.
He cited the example of former Gujarat minister of state for home affairs Amit Shah. He held responsible the legislators too along with bureaucrats and administrators. He also raised the issues of cases pending and rehabilitation and compensation of the internally displaced persons.
In his speech, noted journalist and civil rights activist John Dayal appreciated the UPA government to draft the bill to provide a strong weapon to the minority against communal minded people but he stressed to revise the bill. “It is a matter of concern that bill is silent on action against spreading the communal poison among people which leads to the violence,” he added.
A view of audience
He alleged in Kandhamal (Orissa) the country’s Constitution was defunct for 40 days. He said it was ironic that the persons known for communal mentalities were appointed as judges of the special courts to deal with the cases of communal violence.
Speaking on the occasion, Delhi ACP (Retd) and Treasurer of AIMC Mauji Khan said: “If police and security forces sincerely take action, violence can be controlled within 24 hours.”
Recalling so many cases dealt by himself, Khan said he himself dealt on many occasions sternly and prevented communal violence.
An NRI working in Kuwait narrated his own gory tale to elaborate how an innocent person was sometimes harassed and spend a number of days in the custody and demanded that a person should be taken into custody only after full investigation.
Rafeeque Ahmed, Secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said such kind of a discussion was a must before its taking shape of a legislation. According to him, it was necessary to make solid and collective effort before giving it a right direction.
Highlighting the motive behind organizing the discussion, Dr Manzoor Alam, General Secretary, AIMC said: “The purpose of the program is to ponder over the communal violence bill seriously so that we can play our roles as a responsible member of the civil society and make our contribution to curb the communal hatred and spread the justice and truth all over the country.” He also suggested for constituting a working committee to ponder over on the issue.
In his presidential remarks, well known legal luminary Yusuf Hatim Muchhala said that he communal violence bill was of extraordinary importance. “Therefore, there is a dire need for a comprehensive and non-partisan home work over it. Only then we would be able to check it,” he asserted.
The discussion was participated by intellectuals, academics, social activists and representatives of various organizations. They included Prof K A Siddique Hassan, Naib Ameer, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind; Maulana Neyaz Ahmad Farooqi and Abdul Hameed Nomani from Jamiat Ulema Hind; Maulana Abdul Wahab Khilji, Assistant General Secretary, AIMC; Prof Z M Khan, General Secretary, IOS; Prof Ausaf Ahmed, Editor, Urdu Quarterly Mutalleat; Prof Jamaluddin, Editor, Human Rights Today; Ilyas Malik, convener of Jamia Minority Coordination Committee; Nand Lal, Dalit leader; Prof Sanghasen Singh, Budhist leader; B L Joshi, social activist; Sikh leader R N Chhatwal, Prof Haseena Hashia, Jamia Millia Islamia academic and woman activist; Dr Syed Abdul Bari Shabnam Subhani, Editor, Urdu monthly Milli Ittehaad; Ilyas Pasha, social activist; Mohammed Yunus; Feroz Ghazi, Advocate; Maulana Gulzar Qasmi from Meerut AIMC; Dr Parwez Mian, Er M Imdadullah Jauhar and Mirza Zaki Ahmed Beg from Delhi AIMC. The program was conducted by Prof Afzal Wani.