April 22, 2005

UPA answer to communal violence: Army rule, Delhi rule

India has a strange way to deal with it's problems. We badly need a bill in parliament to give direct command, control and authority to the central govt. to overide state government's over issues like

naxalism/fake currency racket/jailing terrorists/
securing borders/corruption etc...

These are the issues that is bothering India so much. Using the pretext of federalism, state govt.'s are encouraging terrorism/illegal immigration in India. Even USA has a federal scructure but it has agencies like FBI, Homeland security, INS to deal with security issues. They do not let state governors handle such national security matters.

Instead the UPA govt. in India not only dilutes POTA but comes up with this bill now to encouarge minority aggression over Hindus. There is nothing wrong in over riding the pathetic state leadership's authority in all states but why on communal issues rather than on security issues?


UPA answer to communal violence: Army rule, Delhi rule

Controversy Communal Violence (Suppression) Bill 2005 lets Centre over-ride states, virtually enforce Armed Forces Act, even extern suspects


Posted online: Saturday, April 23, 2005 at 0157 hours IST

NEW DELHI, APRIL 22: In the name of ‘‘suppressing’’ communal violence, the UPA Government has drafted a controversial Bill that not only gives the Centre unprecedented powers over states but also equips the armed forces with draconian powers of arrest, search and seizure. It calls for special courts to try cases and arms them with the power to order externment of people ‘‘likely to commit a scheduled offence.’’

The draft Bill, finalised by the Home Ministry is being studied by the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by Sonia Gandhi.

According to the preamble to the Communal Violence (Suppression) Bill 2005—a promise made by the UPA in its Common Minimum Programme—the Bill is in exercise of the constitutional ‘‘duty of the Union to protect States against external aggression and internal disturbance.’’

However, it turns established constitutional principle on its head by allowing the Centre to ‘‘prevail’’ over the state in declaring any area as ‘‘communally disturbed.’’

Once the area is declared ‘‘communally disturbed,’’ as per the Bill, the Centre can deploy armed forces and nominate one or more Central officers—not below the rank of Additional Secretary—to ‘‘coordinate steps taken for dealing with the situation.’’

But it’s Clause 7 to Clause 10 that reads like a virtual reprint of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, an act which, ironically, the Centre—after the Manipur protests—has committed to reviewing.

Under the Bill, ‘‘any commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or any person of equivalent rank in the armed forces’’ can:

• Fire, even cause death, after ‘‘giving such due warning as he may consider necessary.’’

• Arrest, without warrant—and use ‘‘such force as may be necessary’’—any one who has committed a cognizable offence or ‘‘against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed or is about to commit a cognizable offence.’’

• ‘‘Enter and search without warrant any premises’’ to make any such arrest or to recover property ‘‘reasonably suspected’’ to be stolen property

• Stop, search, seize any vehicle suspected of carrying any person who is believed to have or has committed or is ‘‘about to commit’’ a non-cognizable offence.

• Power to break open any ‘‘door, almirah, safe, cupboard, drawer or other thing, if the key thereof is withheld.’’

• No legal action, unless the Centre sanctions it, against any person in respect of anything done under the Act.

The Bill also provides for setting up special courts either in ‘‘the judicial zone’’ within the state or outside to try riot cases. This court shall be presided over by a judge appointed by the government with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court.

Clause 21 of the Bill gives the special court an extraordinary power to direct—on being satisfied with a complaint or a police report—those likely to commit an offence to ‘‘remove himself beyond the limit of such area not exceeding six months, as may be specified in that order.’’ Failing which, the people may be ‘‘removed in police custody.’’

Under Clause 28 of the Bill, if it is proved that an accused has given any money to a person accused or ‘‘reasonably suspected’’ of a scheduled offence, the ‘‘special court shall presume, unless the contrary is proved, that such person has abetted the offence.’’

Similarly, the next clause says that if fingerprints of the accused were found at the site of the offence, the special court ‘‘shall draw adverse inference against the accused.’’

On the issue of relief and rehabiliation as well, a subject that has so far been the responsibility of a state government, the Centre, under the Bill, will nominate six of the 10 members of a Relief and Rehabilitation Council.

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