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16 October 2011

‘Culture of impunity helping communal violence to continue’

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IMO News Service

New Delhi: “There is a process by which riots are produced. And by not acting against it ensures that the violence continues”, said Mr. Harsh Mander. “And the role of the state in not preventing the communal and targeted violence is fuelling impunity and subverting justice,” he added. “In fact, in most of the cases of mass violence active participation of state could be found,” he said claiming there are any numbers of reports of commissions of enquiry to substantiate this.

“Unless we demand that we want to see an end to impunity, our dream of a violence free India is not going to be realised” and “we need a law which essentially empower the victims not the perpetrators or government”. Mr. Mander, a former civil service left IAS in the wake of Gujarat carnage and member of National Advisory Council (NAC) was delivering the First Prof. Iqbal Ansari Memorial Lecture, on 'Communal Violence in India: Ending Impunity' here on Thursday evening.

Talking about the proposed Communal Violence bill prepared by NAC, he said “the NAC draft aimed to put an end communal violence and the culture of impunity in the country”. But "the NAC draft bill came under attack from the BJP and several regional parties during the National Integration Council meet of September 11. And the government did nothing to defend it." Disheartened by the government response to the draft bill Mander said, “the bill is being treated by the government as an orphan".

However, he was quick to add, “Mere law will not end crime against minorities or mass violence. But it will strengthen those who want to see things in right perspective. The Law would be important thing in enabling to end impunity”. He also emphasised on creating an alternative politics of inclusion and pluralism which celebrate diversity of the country, adding, “You cannot fight hatred with hatred”.

Prof. Zoya Hasan, an eminent political scientist and former member of the National Commission for Minorities, who presided the lecture said, “Political will to end the impunity is very much needed” adding, “while it was important to make bureaucrats and civil servants accountable, communal violence can’t be dealt with without holding those political players who encourage and practice communal politics”.

Earlier Dr. John Dayal, Prof Manoranjan Mohanty and, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, remembered Prof. Iqbal Ansari's pioneering works in the area of human rights especially minority rights. Prof. Iqbal Ansari was a pioneering Minority Rights’ scholar and activist, who passed away on 13th October 2009. Prof. He along with another well-known civil libertarians like V M Tarkunde, Justice Rajendra Sachchar championed the protection of civil rights in India. He was also author of several books.

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