Union Minister for Minority Affairs K. Rahman Khan has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bring in a communal violence (prevention and control) bill through the ordinance route. In a letter, he pleaded its urgent need in view of “the recent events of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and tension in adjoining areas.”

Mr. Khan wrote to the Prime Minister on September 11 — and also to United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi — stressing immediate need for a comprehensive law with provisions both for preventing and controlling communal violence and providing adequate relief to the victims of communal carnage.

“I am fully aware that in such a short time enacting a law would not be possible. Therefore, I request you to consider issuing an ordinance to deal with the problem under Article 123 of the Constitution,” he wrote.

It is clear from the letter that the Minister thinks that the proposed legislation — an unfinished agenda of UPA-I — has been shelved. The original version of the bill, drafted in 2005, was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee. The committee submitted its report on the draft in December 2012 and “later it seems the idea of enacting the aforesaid legislation was either deferred or shelved,” he said.

The Minister finds the redrafted bill — circulated for inter-ministerial consultations by the Home Ministry after incorporating the Standing Committee’s suggestions — “weak” and a dilution of the original bill.

Mr. Khan had written to the Home Minister pointing out that this bill would “really not serve the desired purpose.” For one, the word “rehabilitation” has been removed from its title.

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