Andhra Pradesh

Bill for minorities on the anvil

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State Minorities Commission of AP and Telangana prepares the draft for protection of minorities. We have also noticed that there is a general spurt in the crime rate against minorities.

A spurt in complaints from Christian minority institutions and individuals has prompted the State Minorities Commission of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to draft a bill for the protection of minorities and other marginalised communities, namely, the ‘Minorities, Dalits and Other Marginalised Sections (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2015’.

Drafted in the lines of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the bill mainly seeks to fix the responsibility on the government officials for proper investigation and action, and to restrain repeat offenders.

“During the last two to three years, we have received many complaints from the Christian minorities. We have also noticed that there is a general spurt in the crime rate against minorities. This bill seeks to address such attacks, and causes no additional financial burden on the exchequer. Nor does it have anything against any other community,” says Commission’s chairperson Abid Rasool Khan.

The bill has already got overwhelming support from Christian minorities, as evident from the resolution passed during recent annual day celebrations of a devotional television channel attended by over 1,000 clergymen from across Andhra Pradesh.

As per the Commission, eight pastors have been killed across the two States in a well planned murders allegedly by Hindu right wing attackers during the past two years.

A total 170 attacks on pastors have been recorded, in which 23 were grievously injured. Scores of churches have been stopped from functioning.

Five to six cases of sexual violence on minor girls too were reported, of which three were from Nizamabad alone, which has, of late, become a hotbed of communal attacks, Mr. Khan informed.

“In one particular case at Mortad in Nizamabad, the family of the rape victim was forced to leave the village and live in an adjacent village. When we went there, a mob of communal elements gathered, and raised slogans asking us to leave. There was a law and order situation and I had to conduct the hearing amid high security,” he recalls.

In many cases heard by the commission, the accused already had a criminal history, yet let scot-free, Mr. Khan said. Attacks and complaints against churches too are quite rampant, and most often, officials assume a partisan attitude towards the attackers. Complaints are often lodged based on small lacunae with regard to building permissions.



Bill seeks to fix responsibility on the government officials for proper investigation and action, and to restrain repeat offenders



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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 12:54:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/bill-for-minorities-on-the-anvil/article7905118.ece

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