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New legal provisions to deal with racial attacks planned: Government

LiveMint logoLiveMint 26-07-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Government is examining inclusion of new provisions in the IPC to deal with violence or other acts in the name of race, religion or language, in the wake of the recent lynchings as well as the incident of a woman being barred entry into a club in Delhi because of her attire.

Referring to the incident at the Delhi Golf Club where a lady from the Northeast was asked to leave as her attire was different, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said it was a serious incident but action has been hampered by the fact there has been no formal complaint.

He also denied the opposition charge that mass lynchings had become increasingly frequent under the present regime which did not seem to be taking steps to curb such attacks. During the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister said a proposal to insert two new provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) - sections 153 C and 509 A - to deal with offences of promoting enmity on the grounds of religion, race, residence or language, was under examination.

These provisions, which are part of the recommendations of the Bezbaruah Committee, would help in dealing effectively with the offences involving racial matters and words, gestures or acts intended to insult a member of a particular racial group or race. Observing that the opinion of the states have been sought on these provisions, Rijiju said seven states and Union Territories have given a positive response on the proposal and a majority opinion was needed to carry out these changes.

He said the amendments proposed in the IPC would enable the police to deal with such situations better. Earlier, opposition members including Hussain Dalwai of the Congress raised the issue of lynchings, racial attacks and incidents of discrimination. Dalwai claimed that such attacks have increased in the last three years.

The opposition members also sought to know what the government was doing to implement the suggestions of the Bezbaruah committee in this regard. Rijiju said the government had taken an “unprecendented” number of steps to ensure security of all citizens. An advisory has been issued by the Home Ministry to all states to ensure that students from Kashmir, studying in various parts, do not face any problem, he said.

He said it was wrong to say that mob lynchings were a new phenomenon that has emerged under the present central dispensation. Going by the past data, UP, AP, Kerala and Telangana were among the top states where communal clashes took place, Rijiju said. These incidents pertain to states and they should deal effectively with them, he added. Referring to the Delhi Golf Club incident, Rijiju said that a Khasi (Manipuri) lady was asked to leave the premises and termed the incident as “serious”.

The minister said he had spoken to the Delhi Police commissioner seeking a report on the matter. Several chief ministers had also expressed concern in this regard. He however said that there was no complaint in the Golf Club matter and in such a scenario, action is hindered. If a complaint is lodged, we will take action, the minister said.

Emphasising that no one was trying to undermine the gravity of the incident, he said the law functions according to guidelines framed by the legislature. “I cannot create my own law,” Rijiju said. Speaking about the Bezbaruah committee’s suggestions, he said there are short term as well as long term measures which were being looked at.

While the Delhi Police has taken a number of measures, education bodies like UGC and CBSE were also taking steps. Responding to a question on the 1984 riots, the minister said that all are concerned about the violence. It is our wish that the perpetrtors of the pogrom are punished, he said.

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