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Activists push for anti-communal violence legislation

By Neeta Kolhatkar
October 28, 2013 18:18 IST
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Rahul BoseActor and social activist Rahul Bose launched a campaign by writing a postcard to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to fulfill the nine-year old promise of tabling The Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations Bill). Bose launched the send to PM postcard campaign as member of ‘Justice for All’ organisation. Speaking at the press conference at Press Club in Mumbai, Bose said, “I believe the government will protect me, even if it has failed to deliver on other fronts.”

Bose emphasised, nothing can ever compensate the complete loss of hope when the state authorities and police fail to protect vulnerable people in communal violence and then it is wrong to expect feeling of pride for the nation. “If you can’t give me protection, of what relevance is nation, country and nationalism. These all have no meaning when the state has failed to protect me. I have appealed to Dr Singh as part of our campaign, so that once this bill is tabled, no one in administration will have the audacity (majal) to turn away from protecting any minority being harmed.”

Justice for All, which has legal luminaries like advocate Yusuf Muchala, Justice P B Sawant, Teesta Setalvad, Maulana Mahmood Daryabadi, called upon the public to participate in ‘send a postcard to PM campaign.’ They want 10 lakh people to write to Dr Singh to get the government to table the bill in Rajya Sabha.

Setalvad told that although the group has been working for nine years and across all political parties to garner support, there is a deliberate attempt to stall the bill.

“In 2005, we brought out the first draft, but that gave more powers to the police and there was no accountability pinned on administration and police. It was allowed to lapse. In 2010, the National Advisory Council presented a draft to the government and the government said it was working on it. It seemed more like they were trying to sabotage our bill. We are persuading the government and all political parties,” said Setalvad.

The activists said the Right to Information Act was passed after 195 amendments and they are willing to make amendments. The campaign to write to PM by more public would also mean a public pressure to get themselves protection during any communal violence, a bill that doesn’t exist today.

People can even sign the online petition here (external link). 

Image: Rahul Bose launches the campaign.

Photograph: Sahil Salvi

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Neeta Kolhatkar in Mumbai
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