Several activists came together in the first public meeting in the city for the tabling of the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011, under the banner — ‘Justice for All’ on Sunday.
Activists Teesta Setalvad, Rahul Bose, Dolphy D’souza and Rashid Azmi addressed a gathering of 80 people at a church hall in Kandivli on the urgent need for the bill to be tabled, and also launched a national campaign that will see several such public meetings as well as a road show over the next few months.
“The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had promised to bring forward a bill on communal violence and had also incorporated it in its manifesto,” said Setalvad. “We need a public campaign to remind the government of its promise.”
The bill, which was proposed by the National Advisory Committee, seeks to protect religious and linguistic minorities in the country from targeted and organised communal violence. It holds public servants accountable for failure to prevent the outbreak or spread of violence, and also proposes a standard procedure for compensation and reparation.
“The bill ensures the citizens that the state will protect their lives if they are in danger of communal violence,” said Bose.
The group demanded that the bill be tabled before the monsoon session of Parliament. “We will also demand that the bill be taken up in Rajya Sabha so that it outlasts the term of any government,” said Setalvad. “The bill should be passed within the next two years,” she added.