3(c) “Secular fabric of the nation” – a legally sound definition is required. If it means all secular matters (food, clothing, roof, etc.) with equal respect accorded to all the religions in India while at the same time with no support to any religion by the State, it must be clearly stated. If selective support to selective religions is accorded, as is our present practice of secularism, such religions must be spelled out.
3(e) “Group” must be redefined as any group, since there is, and likely to be in the future too, no group in India that is majority, unless “Hindus” as a group is clearly stated to be outside the purview of the benefits of this bill. Otherwise, this vagueness will render the entire law unconstitutional. Can the democratic State form laws to perpetually favor any section of the society and harm another? Constitutionally, it may be able to impose a burden on the Hindus (to protect other minority groups), but such intention of the law must be clearly stated.
3(f) “Hostile environment against a group” – does this cover acts of brutality by the State, such as happened in 1984 against the Sikh community in Delhi by the government itself, or in 2011 against the sleeping citizens on Ramalila grounds past midnight by the Delhi police?
8 “Hate propaganda” – is calling someone as communal, thug, maut ka saudagar, or thief in public meetings or press conferences included in this definition? Where does the law draw the line between violence and freedom of speech? Every Congress neta will be in jail if this loose canon really becomes a law. Beware of the court’s judgments – any religion in India is a minority religion, i.e., no religion has followers > 50% of the population, and even Narendra Modi belongs to a minority religion. Within the secular worldview as well as the Supreme Court’s interpretations, Hindus are divided into followers of numerous religions (Shaiva, Vaishanava, Shrivaishnava, Shaakta, Gaanapatya, Kaumaarya, tribal/animic, Swaminarayan, Bauddha, Jaina, Sikh, etc.) as well as atheists (DMK followers) and agnostics (leftists). Even with the stated definition of “group” as in the draft, Congress is designing a can of deadly worms and its own death through this really stupid bill.
9 “Organized Communal and Targeted Violence” – This clause is so vague that it applies to the Congress party or Church proselytizers more than to any other. The public servants and the Congress governments in Nagaland and Mizoram have systematically failed to stop the Church violence against various “groups”. Again, Congress is designing its own death through this bill.
10 “Aiding financially…” – all Church funding sources will be in deep trouble.
20 “Power of the central government…” – Bringing in Article 355 within this bill is quite dangerous. Don’t live in a well of your urban comforts; walk unnoticed in the villages and the slums and see the reality. Using this proposed law, a non-Congress central government in the future can dismiss any Congress government in no time. Whatever the NAC is attempting to do can work against it through this very bill. Never underestimate the Indian voter. Many foreigners have been buried unsung here in India’s 5000-year history. Sonia Gandhi is placing herself to this list through this ill-thought bill.
21 “National Authority” – As worded in this draft, this seven-member authority can have all its members who are Hindus from different groups within the Hindu fold. A future BJP central government may just do that, if this bill becomes law. Don’t live in the secluded well and think that will never happen. Indira Gandhi thought the same way, misled by brainless intelligence personnel and her deceptive inner circle, when resorting to “Emergency”; it only resulted in the rise of the BJP and the eclipse of the Congress. The only way to avoid such a potential outcome is to clearly state that the Chair, Vice-Chair, and at least two more members will be non-Hindus. Sonia Gandhi is making the singular mistake of trusting her inner circle. This will cost her dearly.
23 “Qualifications” – (1)(d) – increase “one year” to “five years.” A reasonably complete disassociation from politics and political ambitions will be essential.
29 (4) “through any persons appointed by it or through such other procedures and mechanisms it may adopt” – this broad freedom can be misused, such as using a foreign person (Hadley) or agency (CIA, KGB, or ISI). It must be deleted.
44 “State Authorities” – comments are as in #21 above.
46 (1)(d) – comments are as in #23 above.
61 (2) – the witnesses to the recording of the statements of the victim or informant by the Police Officer must not be from the same group as that of the victim or the informant. Both witnesses must not belong to any one group. If the witnesses are from the same group, there is room for reasonable doubt that the complaint may not be genuine. Three in any group can get together and create any story of violence and make a mockery of justice and unnecessarily drain the country’s resources.
All other clauses add a few layers of public servants to the existing system of justice, leaving the actual investigation, trial, and dispensation of justice to the police and the courts. They only open avenues for vested interests such as some NGOs to create communal havoc and corruption; they will not deter or cure communal violence.
For all its hoopla, this proposed bill accomplishes nothing but more babugiri and greater room for central politicians to play disastrous games. Also completely missing in this entire bill is the accountability of these politicians in power.
All in all, the proposed bill is childish, sectarian, and bigoted. It must be thrown to trash without any remorse.
Dr. S. K. Shastry