Government fails to table anti-communal violence bill

Government fails to table anti-communal violence bill

In a major embarrassment for the government, attempts to introduce the anti-communal violence bill in the Rajya Sabha Wednesday were thwarted as the entire opposition united against the bill.

An ugly spat between members from the ruling Congress and main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party erupted when Law Minister Kapil Sibal remarked that the bill was needed when state governments disrupt law and order as it happened in Gujarat.

He said the bill was needed in a situation where "...the state indulges in disrupting law and order ... as it happened in Gujarat, if the state sponsors communal activity". This irked BJP members and led to a huge uproar from both sides.

The opposition parties argued that the bill, to prevent communal violence, was against the federal structure and impinged on the powers of the state governments. Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien thereafter deferred the introduction of the bill. The Left, DMK, AIADMK, and TMC were among the parties that opposed the legislation.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had earlier in the day sought to introduce the bill  but could not do so following protests by BJP members, forcing a second adjournment of the house.

Shinde sought to introduce the bill soon after the house re-assembled at noon following an adjournment on the opening day of the winter session. But Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley (BJP) stood up to oppose the introduction of the bill. Members from some other parties also raised their own issues, causing a din.

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