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Tuesday, 1 May 2012


The proposed Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill, incorporates some extremely dangerous provisions which seek to re-impose the 'dadagiri' of the Centre on the States and even promote insubordination in the administration of the States.

The insidious aspect of the proposed law is the attempt to use communal violence as a pretext to usurp the States' right to maintain law and order and to signal to bureaucrats and policemen that Big Brother in New Delhi is watching them.

Police officers can be prosecuted if men under their control commit an offence or are accused of committing an offence against a religious minority community. The law proceeds on the assumption that the officer ought to have known that persons under his command would commit an offence.

It encourages every policeman to question or challenge his superior right up the line of command and, if he so believes, to disobey his superior. Every policeman will need to worry about how the Union Government (and not the State Government) will view his actions. It is difficult to find a more irresponsible provision in any law.

Equally disgusting is the communal colour that this Bill gives to every major offence. Though the Indian Penal Code deals with all such crimes, the proposed law draws a distinction between rape of a 'minority' woman and a 'majority' woman and assault of a 'minority' person and a 'majority" person. The victim acquires an exalted status if he or she belongs to a 'minority" community. Nowhere in the democratic world does one get to see such communalization of crimes.

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