New Delhi, Sep 10(ANI): Various political parties opposed the ‘Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011′ during the National Integration Commission (NIC) meeting in New Delhi on Saturday.

The political parties felt that the Bill was not fit to be tabled as it was not in conformity to the federal structure of the government.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury stated that apart from the fact that the Bill was anti-federal in structure, it should just be confined to preventing communal violence.

“We want to ensure that two things must be there in whatever Bill comes. The first thing is that it should be confined to communal violence. You cannot have other sets of conflict tensions coming in. Second thing is that the principles of federalism and the rights of the state governments cannot be in any way encroached upon or diluted,” Yechury said.

While commenting on the Bill, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan stated that the Bill was a blatant attack on the concept of federalism.

“I believe that the law and order situation comes under the purview of the state government. By bringing this Bill the rights of the state governments are being attacked. It is a blatant attack on the structure of federalism and we opposed it,” Chauhan said.

Echoing similar views, leader of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) party Sharad Yadav stated that the right to maintain law and order should remain with the state governments.

“Our law is federal in structure and it is in the hands of the state governments. It should remain there. Any other acts of heinous crime happening to any group or community should be taken care of by power or force,” Yadav said.

Countering all these viewpoints, senior lawyer and member of the Bill’s drafting committee Fali Nariman stated that the Bill is not one sided as has been pointed out and it aims to protect people from all the religions and sections of the society.

“It is not correct that it is one sided or two sided. What should be done must be done with the interests of citizens and not with the interests of political parties. Therefore the oppressed citizens who have no grievance against the state but have against another group be it a Muslim group or a Christian group or a Hindu group. He or she or they must have some remedy. So this provides the framework of a remedy,” Nariman said.

The Bill which seeks to protect various groups from communal violence and harm in clause 3 (a) of chapter 1 defines the victim groups as “religious and linguistic minority, in any state in the Union of India, or Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes”.

(Source: ANI)