India’s communal situation in 2012!



By M.Y.Siddiqui

Communal situation in India during the calendar year 2012 remained, by and large, under control, according to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Nevertheless, a major communal violence flared up on July 19, 2012 in Kokrajhar (Assam) later spreading to Chirang and Dhubri districts in which 99 people lost their lives and 4.85 lakh people displaced. The displaced were accommodated in various relief camps. In November 2012, fresh violence occurred in Kokrajhar district killing 10 people. The Government of India took all necessary steps to provide succour to the affected people.

During 2012, 668 communal incidents, over and above the Assam disturbances, took place across India in which 94 persons lost their lives and 3,117 people injured compared to 580 communal riots in 2011 that killed 91 persons and injured 1899 people.

Over the years, the Centre has taken several measures to strengthen communal, social harmony and national integration in the country. It has set up National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for protection of human rights of the people of India, taken steps to sensitize police, other official machinery and judiciary on communal harmony and gender issues, besides monitoring activities of religious fundamentalist organizations. The National Foundation for Communal Harmony has instituted annual awards for communal harmony for individuals and organizations doing exemplary works for promotion of communal harmony and national integration.. It also observes Sankalp Divas and Qaumi Ekta Week every year across the country. And at the apex, there is the National Integration Council (NIC) headed by the Prime Minister with Chief Ministers of States and men and women of goodwill and substance representing all strata of society, to deliberate, discuss, consult and evolve consensus on issues germane to communal harmony and national integration. The NIC is scheduled to meet in the current year 2013 for which agenda has been called for from the States and Union Territories to be finalized by the Standing Committee of NIC.

Meanwhile, activities of all religious fundamentalist organizations are under constant watch of the law enforcement agencies with a bearing on peace, communal harmony and security of the country and appropriate action is taken where necessary.

As for the most contentious issue of Ram Janma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid disputes, the matter is before the Supreme Court of India arising from the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court judgement of September 30, 2010. However, being a statutory receiver of disputed site at Ayodhya under the Acquisition of Certain Area of Ayodhya Act, 1993, the Government of India, in compliance of the apex court orders, has been maintaining status quo on the revered site in close coordination with the State Government of Uttar Pradesh and the authorized person, the Commissioner of Faizabad Division.

Above all, the much hyped enactment of the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2005, introduced in Rajya Sabha (Upper House) of Parliament of India on December 5, 2005 by the UPA 1 Government, duly cleared by the Standing Committee of Parliament on Home Affairs headed by the BJP M.P. Sushma Swaraj and again okayed by the Union Cabinet, still churned, refined and further fine tuned by the National Advisory Council attached to the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, recast as the Prevention and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice & Reparation) Bill, 2011, is still mired in uncalled for controversy over the so called opposition from some state governments perceiving it to be encroaching their Constitutional rights to be sole arbiter in the matters governing law and order as their whole preserve notwithstanding their systematic failure to contain communal flare-ups, partisan law enforcement machinery and discriminatory treatment of dalits and minorities. The imperatives of such legislation have been necessitated by sustained failure of state governments and globalization of India wherein its civilisational strength of tolerance and unity in diversity must prevail at all costs and in all circumstances if the country has to maintain a place of pride in the comity of nations and a right destination for investment and global business opportunity.

Whatever it be, in the ultimate analysis, it is India’s uniqueness of civilisational respect for each other, its time tested civilisational strength of oneness of our people that prevail over such strifes, which our people take in strides and march ahead along the path of peace, progress, harmony, integration and co-existence amidst diversity of culture, languages, castes, communities and religions!



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