A major rift was palpable in the meeting of National Integration Council over the draft of Communal Violence Bill, prepared by the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, with the BJP dubbing it as biased against the Hindu community and instead of controlling communal tension it will only fuel communal violence. It is quite disappointing that despite the protest amendment to the Bill was declined. This may be the reason that earlier only non-Congress ruled states rebuffed it while now the UPA governments also stood united against the present draft of the Bill. The way West Bengal Chief Minister and Andhra Pradesh government have showed their reservation about the Bill, it indicates if Congress-ruled state governments are allowed they will also pooh pooh the Bill. It is fair on the part of the Prime Minister to express that only such legislation will be brought out which will not affect the federal structure of the country. But it would have been better had he realized it earlier. The Central establishment should have been cautious in this regard. Though the conviction of state government is right that law and order is a state subject, it does not mean that they should be reluctant to know their responsibility and when the Centre speaks about their accountability, they will term it as a bid to tinker with the federal set up of the country.

One cannot decline it that law and order is the subject of states, but it cannot be ignored that state governments are not aptly maintaining law and order situation. Today, if there is a threat to internal security, the Centre and state governments are equally responsible for it. There are umpteenth instances that state government did not take concrete step to maintain law and order for the sake of parochial political interests. There are several instances that the Centre could not intervene despite slackness of the state government. Undoubtedly, the federal set up of the country should be intact but it does not mean that state government should take leeway to fulfill personal gains. The glaring shortcoming of the Communal Violence Bill is that it indicates minority is always victimized by majority, which will have a wide ramification on social cohesion. This Bill will create deep fissure between the minority and majority, which will hit more on social cohesion than the federal structure of the nation. It will be wise to give a relook at the present draft of the Communal Violence Bill and discard the feeling that only majority is responsible for communal violence.