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12 September 2011

Madhya Pradesh CM opposes provisions of Communal Violence Bill, terms it against Federal Structure

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By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan has opposed the provision of Prevention Of Communal And Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Regulations) Bill 2011 to be tabled by the Central Government as a law, and termed it as against federal structure which will increase discrimination in society, an official Press release said.

Chief Minister Mr. Chouhan said that the draft of the Bill is such that Prime Minister, Defence Minister and Home Minister will come under the category of minority on linguistic basis. Such a Bill should not be tabled. He was speaking at the meeting of the National Integration Council in Delhi on Saturday.

Objecting to the provisions of the Bill, Mr. Chouhan is reported to have said that this will lead to religious and caste-related intolerance among various sections. On one hand mistrust has been shown in this Bill on government machinery and on the other hand the crimes classified as planned communal violence are unclear. As per Section 9 of the proposed Bill, the state government institutions deliberately provoke religious fanatism and violence. There is no scope for such mistrust in a democratic system. This will prevent public servants from complying with government works independently. He said that such appeasement works will lead to rise in intolerance on various communities and sections in the country and state instead of increasing sense of harmony.

Naxalism: On Naxalism, Mr. Chouhan said that it must be seen that there is no social discrimination in other backward areas so that Naxalism does not spread to other areas. This problem can be eradicated by development of infrastructure for tribals. Rights on land and forest produce have been given to tribals in Madhya Pradesh. If roads and other facilities are provided in the tribal areas in forest dwellers' areas, then Naxalism will not take roots. Various schemes have been implemented for removing economic and educational backwardness in the tribal areas. “Vanwasi Samman Yatra” was taken out in the tribal areas and special attention is being given to implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006.

Corruption: Describing corruption as a burning issue, Chief Minister Mr. Chouhan said that the Madhya Pradesh Government has sent for President's approval the Courts Bill' which will try to restore public faith in the system. Strict provisions like timely trial in corruption cases and confiscation of properties amassed through corrupt means are incorporated in it.

Terrorism: Mr. Chouhan drew attention of the Prime Minister and Home Minister that two Bill formulated in the state to deal with terrorism and corruption are pending with the Centre for approval, which should be approved soon. He informed that one these Bills is “Madhya Pradesh Terrorism, Extremist Activities and organised Crime Control Bill 2010”. Similarly, few amendments were proposed in the “Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Amendment Act” seeking to eliminate religious hatred, but Government of India has rejected them while legislation with identical provisions is in force in other States.

Saving daughters a matter of national concern: On this occasion, Mr. Chouhan said that though this issue is not on the agenda but declining sex ratio in the country is a matter of national concern. He said that Madhya Pradesh government is going to launch “Beti Bachao Jan Abhiyan”. This campaign should also be launched at the national level.

The meeting of the National Integration Council was chaired by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. Union Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram and other Union Ministers were present at the meeting. Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Mr. Umashankar Gupta, Additional DGP Mr. R.K. Shukla and Principal Secretary to CM, Mr. Deepak Khandekar also attended the meeting, the release added.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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