Anti-communal violence law in India in offing

Agence France Presse

New Delhi, July 4:

The Indian government is planning to protect religious minorities from communal unrest by introducing a law that will target those who instigate, conspire or abet mob violence, a minister said today. "We will definitely not tolerate it and will use all that is within our command to ensure the situation is properly dealt with," Home Minister Shivraj Patil told PTI.

"It will be a law which will really deal with communal violence as it will aim at those instigating, abetting, conspiring or funding such violence," Patil said.

The move comes in the wake of riots that broke out in Gujarat state in 2002 after a train of Hindu activists and devotees was torched by an alleged Muslim mob, killing 59 people.

More than 2,000 people — mostly Muslims — died in the subsequent riots. Gujarat’s Hindu nationalist chief minister Narendra Modi and the state’s police were accused by various Indian and international human rights groups of turning a blind eye to the riots and even instigating vigilante groups. The proposed law will also spell out the role of the federal government and the states in dealing with "communal outrage", the minister said. President Abdul Kalam, in a joint address to India’s new parliament last month, had referred to the government’s intention to bring in a new law.