Minority Affairs Minister A R Antulay on Wednesday demanded that communal riots should be brought under the purview of the new anti- terror law being brought in by the government to combat terrorism.
"This law should also be applicable against communal rioters because rioters are also terrorists," he told reporters here adding that "this is his personal view that nobody can stop him from airing".
Referring to the killing of a large number of people in communal riots in independent India, he said those people who inflame communal riots should also be punished.
He, however, refused to answer whether this demand was raised in the cabinet and later shot down by the government. "I am not going to tell you anything on Cabinet matters. I am saying it here because it is my personal conviction," he said.
On the possibility of the likelihood of the misuse of the new law, he said, " any law can be misused". "The best answer to all this is implementing the law against communal rioters as well."
He argued that bringing rioters under the purview of the new law "will silence all". "Then action would be taken against all and sundry who incite riots and nobody will say that this is being misused against the Muslims," the minister said.
To a question on why the government is bringing a law like POTA after four years in power, the minister said "This is not POTA but different from POTA. There have been changes".
To a question whether the new law has created apprehensions of minority persecution in the name of tackling terror, the minister remarked, "It is not anti-minorities. It is anti-terrorists. Terrorists do not have any religion."
Stressing the need for such a law in the aftermath of Mumbai terror strikes, he said, "Such an act was necessary to combat terrorists."