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SONIA EXPRESSES SEVERE CONCERN OVER THREAT TO NATIONAL FABRIC, NAC WANTS MORE TEETH FOR COMMUNAL VIOLENCE LAW

The National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has rejected the Communal Violence Bill in its present form and has advocated a fresh law that includes in its title and scope sectarian violence and defines new crimes. Expressing the great concern that such violence poses to the national plural fabric, the consultative body has suggested creation of a national authority as the existing structure of the non-statutory National Integration Council and the National Harmony Foundation lack teeth and effectiveness to tackle the grave issue. The National Advisory Council (NAC) chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi Wednesday said that the draft bill on communal violence lacks “some essential features” and needed to be redrafted.

The Working Group on the Communal Violence Bill presented its proposals before the NAC, highlighting the salient features of the proposed bill. According to the presentation by the group, “the objective of the bill was not to empower the state and central government but to ensure action and accountability of public authorities, for the prevention and control of communal and sectarian violence which threatens the physical, social, economic, cultural, political and human security of citizens, the unity and secular fabric of the nation”.

The working group also called for the “speedy investigation, prosecution and punishment of those engaging in communal and sectarian crimes; justice and security to victims and survivors; the guarantee of the rights of victims and survivors to comprehensive rescue, relief, rehabilitation compensation restitution and reparation”. Supporting these principles, the NAC said: “It was felt that the current draft bill does not fulfil the stated objectives and could not accommodate the various features essential for the achievement of these objectives.”

“Some of these essential features included widening the scope of the law to include sectarian violence, definitions of new crimes…ensuring greater accountability of public authorities, stipulation of national norms from rescue to restitution…and ensuring victim-witness rights,” the NAC said in a statement. “It was agreed in the NAC that there was a need to draft a fresh law on the subject that would reflect the letter and spirit of the stated objectives. The working group would consult with the legal experts for this purpose,” it added.

This post was syndicated from Union Times Today. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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