“India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters. I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage. I shall always strive to be worthy of it. I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders respect and treat everyone with courtesy. To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion. In their well being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness.” So is the Indian pledge that is taken by millions of school children regularly for close to sixty years now. The beauty of the pledge is all about the spirit of inclusiveness in it. The stress is repeatedly on the usage of pluralistic and possessive words and phrases like “my country”, “my people”, “all Indians”, “rich and varied heritage”, “all elders”, “treat everyone” and “my devotion”.

The connection between the self, “I” with the country and fellow people without any bar is the learning one gets while taking the pledge. The learning imbibed even by the school children is unfortunately missing in the “unauthorized law makers” of the present times. Else there seems to be no reason for the preparation of a bill called “Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill”.

Our pledge clearly and strongly states that “to my country and to my people I pledge my devotion”. The preamble of the constitution starts with the words “We the people”. The message is loud and clear – It is the people of this country as one united entity that is addressed without any discrimination. And kids know this right from their primary school. But then here is a proposed bill that in one stroke demolishes the entire edifice upon which this nation has been built and has been flourishing since ancient times – Unity, Understanding, Brotherhood, Peace and Harmony.

The rule of law is, and supposed to be equal and fair to all the citizens of the country without any discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, gender, language, etc. The law enforcing agencies and other administrative services work solely on this principle of equality of law. A thief is a thief no matter what his religious, caste or language backgrounds are. A corrupt official is tried and punished for the crime he has committed without any discriminations on the basis of his religious or caste affiliations. But this proposed bill goes against the very grain of common law of non-discrimination of the perpetrators of crime. This bill has been drafted solely under the false premise, implanted impression and wrong belief that Hindus and solely Hindus are the reasons for and instigators behind all the communal riots that have been taken place in this country.

This bill has been drafted the by the National Advisory Council under the leadership of Smt. Sonia Gandhi. The bill drafting committee and the advisory group for the bill consists of members and ‘activists’ like Teesta Setalvad, Harsh Mander, Kamal Faruqui, John Dayal, Syed Sahabuddin and many others of such ilk. The honorary members of this committee do not have any background or experience in drafting such bills or making such recommendations. They have been handpicked by their boss to do the job of framing this bill without any sound reason or acceptable logic. This committee is dominated by people from non- Hindu religions and by people with open anti-Hindu philosophies.

This bill contains draconian provisions which will completely destroy the peace and communal harmony and compound to the existing woes of the country. This bill is anathema to the existing 1) Constitution of India 2) Legal system 3) Federal structure 4) Social and Cultural ethos of our land. This bill if it becomes a law will complete the unfinished but successful policy of “Divide and Rule” and will lead to question marks to the very idea of India as one unified state. The positioning of minority versus majority at every possible opportunity and area is the driving force behind this draconian bill. This bill if it becomes a law will lead to a common average Hindu ceasing to be a Hindu on any term. This bill if it becomes a law will ensure that no public display of Hindu customs and festivals is carried out in the country. This bill if it becomes a law will not allow any Hindu to stand up for his religion peacefully and legally in times of showering of insults and derogatory remarks against his Gods and religion.

This bill if it becomes a law will not allow Hindus to oppose unethical and illegal practices undertaken by other religions to gain converts into their fold. This bill treats an accused as guilty till he proves himself innocent which is against the universal law codes. And more, he wont even know who has complained against him ever. The bill stoops down to the level of discrimination on the basis of religion for even sexual offenses committed against women. If the woman victim is a Hindu, the law is “x” and if the women victim is a “minority” then the law is “y”. What a fall!

The bill and the dangerous provisions have to be opposed tooth and nail by every right thinking citizen of this country without any inhibitions. The simple reason for the opposition being, there are sinister motives, hidden agendas and bigger plans behind the introduction of this bill. One reading of the bill and the numerous articles written on the same subject opposing the bill will make one easily understand the gravity of the situation under which this bill has been proposed. This bill will not result in prevention of communal violence but will act as a catalyst towards the disintegration of the Indian state. This bill will give supreme powers to the Central Government in overpowering the state governments while dealing with Communal violence. This will break the foundations of the Centre-State relations and the federal structure of our country.

This bill goes against the very spirit and words of the Constitution of India which was painstakingly and remarkably created by our founding fathers. This bill goes against universal laws, conventions and practices thereby opening a Pandora’s box in the legal fraternity. This bill goes against the very social and cultural ethos of this country which has led to the birth of many religions and the growth of foreign religions. If the idea that Hindus are the reason for all the communal violence in this country is true, then other religions wouldn’t have shown steady growth in their number of adherents since independence.

The time is for the nation and its people to stand united and show their dissent in one voice to this draconian bill. We should not allow our rulers to divide us and rule us under any circumstances. We should not allow history to repeat itself. The people have always united and risen in opposition in a big way only when they were exploited religiously. The first war of independence of 1857 was fought primarily triggered by hurt of religious sentiments. The Indian National Congress till then a body of lawyers and elites, passing resolutions took a big turn in terms of its approach, adherents, methods and practices only after the Partition of Bengal. So again, it is nothing but a call of national duty and a concern for a humanitarian cause for us to oppose the Prevention of Communal Violence and Targeted Violence Bill. Jai Hind.

Sreenivasan is a friend of CRI. 

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