TACKLING IMMINENT DANGERS

India is a land of unity in diversity with people belonging to different religions, besides varied social and cultural backgrounds living harmoniously since centuries. Unfortunately the subcontinent has been marred by communal violence rather religious violence on many occasions and the worst being the violence at the time of partition in 1947. Despite being proud of our performance as the largest democracy of the world we feel disappointed with some instances of religious violence happening even till date. It is really most unfortunate when tension erupts in a state like J&K where father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi had seen a ray of hope emanating when the rest of the subcontinent was witnessing religious violence at the time of partition. Although the nation especially J&K has an untarnished record of communal harmony after independence but there are elements attempting to tarnish the image of the state on this count. What pains is that there are elements in different political parties who are hell bent upon creating a communal divide out of every tragic situation in any part of the nation. Though the nation has moved ahead despite being faced with major threats of Communal violence, yet the factor has definitely impacted the socio-economic development of the nation to some extent in the affected areas across the nation. The state of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed the worst in this regard during the violence perpetrated by terrorists from across the border. Communal violence in nineties led to a situation whereby the minorities had to flee the Valley to save their lives. Unfortunately the trend of such communal divide and exploiting the people in the name of religion for petty vote bank politics continues across the nation thus posing threats to the communal harmony across the nation. It is high time to realize that imminent dangers to communal harmony cannot be undermined especially in view of the ulterior motive of our neighbour which keeps an eye on every opportunity to be exploited. Despite having legal provisions in the form of constitutional guarantees to ensure communal harmony, the recurring communal riots prove that the existing provisions are insufficient to prevent communal clashes in India. Therefore there is a dire need for active role to be played by autonomous bodies like National Human Rights Commission of India, the National Commission for Minorities, and even the Non-governmental organisations at the ground level. The role of NGOs in this regard is most significant as sporadic and sometimes serious acts of religious violence tend to occur at the grass root level. Besides this efforts should be initiated to bring in such legislations that could prove beneficial in reducing the scope for communal violence. Though there have been a number of attempts to promulgate laws on the subject from time to time but the efforts ended in vain. The bills in this regard included the UPA government’s Communal violence (Suppression) Bill rejected due to legal faults followed by Communal violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation) Bill introduced in Parliament in 2005 that was referred to the parliamentary committee for review and the Prevention of communal and targeted violence (Access to Justice and reparations) Bill, 2011 introduced in the Parliament with an agenda to prevent communal clashes. Though the aforesaid bills fizzled out due to whatever reasons, it is expected that the nation brings legislation after meticulous deliberations with legal experts and drafts the bill with utmost precision so that we do have a law that successfully washes away the scope of communal or religious violence anywhere in India. After all, violence does not achieve anything but only results in bloodshed. Let all the stakeholders uphold and keep intact the glory of the nation.