J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI: The former Union Law Minister and senior Supreme Court lawyer, Shanti Bhushan, on Sunday suggested setting up of a “Communal Harmony Commission”, a statutory body with powers to prosecute persons like Varun Gandhi who spread hate speech affecting communal harmony in the country.

He was speaking at a function organised by Alhikmah Foundation and he released a booklet on “Peace: Quranic Concepts and Prophetic Teachings”.

He said communal and fascist tendencies were thriving in our society since 1984. Expressing concern over Varun Gandhi’s speech, he said it was a very serious offence under the Constitution and such offences could be dealt with by the Communal Harmony Commission.

Supreme Court Judge Justice Markandey Katju, who was the chief guest, presented the Alhikmah Cultural Promotion Award to Dr. Ebraheem M. Albatshan, Cultural Attaché of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“The original habitants of India were pre-Dravidian aborigines. India is a country of great diversities and if we have to run this country then we have accord equal respect to every citizen. Our secular Constitution is a great binding force that holds together various tribes, religions, castes etc,” he said.

He applauded the efforts of Jawaharlal Nehru in creating a secular India.

“Akbar is the founder and creator of modern India the legacy that Pandit Nehru carried. Our history has been distorted fiercely. The descendents of Muslim rulers promoted communal harmony. These facts have suppressed in our history text books.”

He stressed the need for popularising the documentary evidences that show that Muslims rulers promoted communal harmony by giving financial aid to different Hindu temples as well by participating in Hindu festivals.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer and Human Rights activist Pashant Bhushan said t peace was an international challenge that was threatening the whole world. Referring to Varun Gandhi’s hate speech, he said the Election Commission had enough powers under Article 324 of the Constitution to take action against him.