Mission 2014 for Congress ! Post-riots, UPA to push for communal violence bill NEW DELHI: More than a month after communal riots in Muzaffarnagar claimed over 50 lives and less than six months before the Lok Sabha poll, the Union home ministry has dusted the draft communal violence bill, hanging fire since 2005. Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday said he was working on provisions of the Bill, some of which are being objected to by parties like the BJP as well as state governments. Stating that the MHA was moving ahead with the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill that aims to protect minorities against targeted attacks, Shinde said he had "sought details of the bill from the concerned department". "The work has begun on the bill," he told reporters. The push for the bill also came from minority affairs minister K Rahman Khan, who noted that the Muzaffarnagar riots had underlined inadequacies in existing laws to deal with communal clashes. He pitched for tabling of the anti-riots Bill in the ensuing winter session, but added that "the decision has to be taken by the government." When asked if the bill could come up in winter session, Shinde said he was not sure. The bill has been gathering dust despite being cleared by a parliamentary standing committee in end-2006. Though the parliamentary panel was able to resolve differences over a controversial provision that allowed the Centre to send forces on its own to a communally disturbed area, it could not be subsequently taken up by Parliament despite notices being given for its consideration and passage in successive sessions. Then came the intervention by Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council (NAC), which decided to re-examine the bill in 2010 and came up with a revised draft bill in 2011. The controversial provisions in this new draft ran into opposition from the ministries of home as well as law, especially the one providing for penalizing of government officials who failed to prevent or control communal violence. There was also opposition to only "minorities" being recognized as the group targeted during riots. Another controversial provision that ran foul with many state governments related to creation of a National Authority for Communal Harmony, Justice and Reparation with sweeping powers to probe occurrence or likely occurrence of communal riots and also to review effectiveness of steps taken by government officials towards prevention of communal violence. The NAC draft almost pushed the communal violence bill into cold storage. However, with the Muzaffarnagar riots renewing demands for enactment of an anti-riots bill, the Union home ministry has now revived efforts to streamline divergence of opinion over its provisions. The demand for enactment of the anti-riots bill is expected to dominate proceedings at the convention against communalism scheduled for October 30. Being organized by non-Congress and non-BJP parties, it will mount pressure on the UPA to have a strong legal framework in place to deal with riots and rehabilitate riot victims. Congress appeared in favour of the bill. Spokesman Sandeep Dikshit said the bill was "pending discussion" but underlined it was an important legislation that would have a far-reaching effect. After the Muzaffarnagar violence, CPM's full Polit Bureau meeting had said the violence in western UP has come in the "background of the systematic efforts to raise communal tensions and provoke violence by the RSS outfits." CPM also blamed the Uttar Pradesh administration for not being vigilant. The party said, "In this connection, the Polit Bureau wants the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill to be taken up expeditiously and adopted."