New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - India's parliament is set to vet the Communal Violence Bill - a proposed piece of legislation meant to curb inter-religious violence - during its winter session, between now and 20 December.
Within the Hindu ultra-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the leading opposition party, the bill has come in for criticism. Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat and the BJP's candidate for prime minister in the upcoming union election, has called it "a recipe for disaster."
Commissioned by the National Advisory Council (NAC), which is chaired by Sonia Gandhi, the bill would give the central government the power to intervene directly in cases of inter-religious violence, even bypassing state authorities.
The idea of such a law came after the Gujarat massacres of 2002, when more than 2,000 Muslims died at the hands of the Hindus. Narendra Modi himself was blamed for the massacre.
The issue became an even greater public policy issue in the wake of the anti-Christian pogrom in Orissa (2008) and the failure of individual States to ensure justice.
Speaking about the bill, Modi called it "ill-conceived, poorly drafted" and a way to get votes rather than the expression "of genuine concerns".
According to the Hindu ultra-nationalist leader, the bill is an attempt to encroach on state rights.