1) The Communal Violence Bill defines a minority group as ‘a religious or linguistic minority, in any State in the Union of India, or Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes’. At a national level, minorities in India clearly include Muslims and other non-Hindus. 2) Nonetheless, there have been clear examples of targeted violence against particular minorities like Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, tribals in the Northeast, Christians in Orissa, and Dalits in almost every state. In effect, it is victimization itself that defines a minority group. ) “Minority” is not a frozen national concept based on religion alone; it is, on the contrary, an entirely shifting category at the level of the states. As the economy expands, populations migrate and demography changes, there may be many points of conflict whose roots are not religious bigotry but regional, linguistic and other chauvinisms heightened by economic competition. “Unity in diversity” will come about only if we work towards a reasonably fair society with equality in the working of the law for all.
This bill learns from the past but is not imprisoned by it; it seeks to prevent identity-based violence around old or new fault-lines by making states accountable. 4) Almost as a rule, governments in India have failed to control riots when there is political complicity. As for example some of India’s worst riots against minorities (such as the Ahmedabad riots of 1969, the Moradabad riots of 1980, the Meerut riots of 1987, and the anti-Sikh riots of Delhi) went uncontrolled by the Congress.
Thus with the introduction of this bill it would serve a movement towards a riot free india. 5) The minority communities have to face several problems in India. The minorities are not able to integrate properly in the Hindu-dominated society. There is apprehension among some sections that for enlarging its base, the Christian community is involved in converting the low caste Hindus or tribes to its own community or religion, resulting in the killing and intense conflict between the majority Hindus and the Christian minority.
This has created too much insecurity and fear among the Christian minority in India. The minorities claim that unlike their Hindu counterpart, they are relatively deprived in areas like employment, politics and social facilitation. According to them, they are poorly represented in civil services as well as in medical and engineering colleges. The serious communal riots especially after 1960s have instilled a sense of insecurity among the Muslims and tend to push them into their narrow communal shell.
The anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat during February-May 2002 supposedly in retaliation to the Godhra incident has shaken not only the Indian Muslims, but all the concerned Indian citizens. During the caste conflicts, communal violence, etc. , the minority groups seek police protection. But the government in power also finds it difficult to provide such protection for all the members of minorities. For instance, the Modi government in Gujarat was unable to provide protection for the Muslims after the Gujarat massacre, in which huge numbers of Muslims were killed.
Again, the then Rajiv Gandhi government at the Centre was severely criticised for its failure to provide adequate security for the Sikh community of Delhi because of the communal riots that broke out after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. Now, secularism began to be used merely as a slogan of opportunism. The politicians found it easy to align a large number of multi-cultural citizens into culturally distinct groups for the realization of their vested interests.
Most of the communal riots in the country have been the handiwork of disgruntled politicians, anti-social elements and criminals. Demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992, the Mumbai riots, and the Godhra carnage and subsequent massacres in 2002 revealed the serious weakness and susceptibility of India’s commitments towards democracy and secularism. Thus, the condition of religious minorities in India continues to be very complex and critical.