New Delhi: Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Monday endorsed the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill, which is likely to be tabled during the winter session of Parliament.
He said he was surprised by the Bharatiya Janata Party's opposition to the proposed anti-fundamentalist violence bill.
"I am surprised as to how a responsible political party can oppose such a progressive legislation. It lends itself to an interpretation, which I hope is wrong, that does the BJP support the perpetrators of fundamentalist violence?" Tewari asked.
"It is incumbent upon everybody, who believes in the Constitution of India, to ensure that the pluralistic character of the idea of India is maintained under all circumstances. Communal riots are a blot on any civil society. Therefore, all steps must be taken to see that those who perpetrate, conceive, conceptualize, orchestrate this inhuman and barbaric action need to be punished in the severest of terms," Tewari said while lauding the scope of the proposed bill.
Earlier today, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had criticised the proposed Communal Violence Bill, and alleged that in its present form it made provisions to intentionally target certain groups in the country.
"We had several reservations on the Communal Violence Bill. We are in support of laws that are made to protect the nation from communal violence. Nonetheless, we have about three dozen laws to protect the nation from communal violence already, which if implemented by a strong government can deter communal violence," Naqvi said.
"However, the proposed bill has several provisions in it that intentionally target certain institutions. So, let the bill come into Parliament and we will see what provisions they come forth with," he added.
Minority Affairs Minister Rahman Khan had revived demand for the Communal Violence Bill, when he wrote to the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, after the Muzaffarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh.