The Union home ministry is set to bury the UPA’s grand plan to enact a communal violence law that proposed to give the Centre sweeping powers to intervene in states witnessing riots.
The latest round of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar has revived demands for a bill to protect people, with minorities minister K Rahman Khan leading from the front.
On Monday, Khan declared he had asked home minister Sushilkumar Shinde to push the stringent law because “we cannot control communal violence if we don’t have strict laws”.
But home ministry sources told HT the National Advisory Council (NAC) — which came up with a stringent version of the bill — had practically dug the grave for the legislation.
The home ministry had come up with the first version of the communal violence bill in 2005 during UPA 1. Within the next one year, it also got cabinet approval for tweaking the bill on the recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee.
Left-leaning groups, however, lambasted the UPA government for the final version of the bill, arguing that it was a little too soft on the states and did not adequately empower the central government to intervene. After criticism, the bill was put in cold storage. As one official argued, the bill had come up on the insistence of the Left parties that were supporting UPA 1.
The home ministry was forced to pull out the bill from the freezer at the instance of the NAC when it came up with its own version of the law.
Government sources said the home ministry processed the NAC version of the bill as a precautionary measure. But the law ministry had raised “some serious objections” to the bill, the source said, pointing that it flew in the face of the federal structure.