New Delhi: Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley Tuesday accused the central government of polarising the country on communal lines ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections by circulating to states the revised draft of a bill on preventing communal violence.
“It appears that ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, in order to polarize the country on communal lines, the ministry of home affairs has again written a letter to the state governments enclosing therewith revised draft of the bill,” Jaitley wrote on his blog.
He said there hasn’t so far been adequate consultation with the stakeholders on Prevention of Communal Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, which was first submitted in 2011 by the National Advisory Council headed by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
The leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa Monday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh voicing her strong opposition to the draft.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had last week accused the central government of “unnecessary interfering in the activities of the state governments” after the government’s decision to revive the bill.
Jaitley said in a meeting of the National Integration Council held in 2011 that chief ministers across party lines opposed the bill on the ground that it would be destructive to the federal structure of the constitution.
“This draft bill was put on the net for consultation. I had written a strong critique of this bill, amongst others, on the ground that law and order and public order are state subjects and that the parliament by enacting such a law would be encroaching on the domain of the states,” he said.
He said the earlier bill was highly discriminatory and gave unguided power to authorities proposed to be created and loaded the redressal and accountability mechanism in favour of one community against the other on the basis of religion.