Minorities at the UN: Javed Anis, Urban and Rural Growth Academy Bhopal, India
Javed Anis, on the behalf of Urban and Rural Growth Academy spoke at the UN Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva on 26-27 November 2013 . His intervention was based on AGENDA ITEM # 3: Protection of the existence of and prevention of violence against religious minorities. Read the full text of his intervention below.
Thank you Madam Chair
My name is Javed Anis. I am with Urban and Rural Growth Academy an NGO based in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.
It is the responsibility of states to protect their citizens including minorities from all types of violence and ensure their safety and security. As Article 1 of the UNDM states that:
States shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities and states shall adopt legislation to achieve those ends.
(Therefore) in relation to draft recommendation 51:
We agree to the tenor of the draft recommendation, with the addition that the recommendation should extend to adequate rehabilitation and compensation for the victims of the communal violence.
There is a great challenge to protect the rights of Indian minorities to the international standard. In India particular groups of citizens suffer targeted violence merely because of their group identity. India does not have strong laws on violence against minorities. There are some provisions in IPC ( Indian Penal code ) but they are not effective and have been violated by political parties in India. Various political parties in India continue to give election tickets to people who have declared cases of inciting communal tension between religious groups .
The government has appointed many commissions of inquiry to the causes of communal violence but the findings and recommendations were never implemented by the subsequent government. The commission’s reports, based on intensive investigations, drew conclusions that the targeted violence was unleashed on minorities with the nexus of politicians, bureaucrats and law enforcement agencies. the state didn’t provide adequate compensation for the loss of life and property, and to resettle and integrate affected people in society. There is no credible mechanism in the Constitution to hold perpetrators accountable ,especially those collaborating and inciting violence against minorities.
According to the central government, from 2009 to 2013 (up to March), there have been 2,969 incidents of communal riots in the country where 9,228 people have been injured and 442 were killed.
We conducted a fact finding on violence against Muslim minorities on September 19, 2013 and found that communal violence at Chhipawad MP was well-orchestrated and aimed at terrorizing the minority community. Local politicians were involved in this riot to polarize the society on communal lines to garner votes. The compensation given to the victims (from Rs. 5,000 to Rs 50,000) is inadequate as the victims have lost almost everything including their homes, food grains, utensils clothes etc.
We therefore urge this Forum to call on the Government of the Republic of India to put the pending “Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011” to table in parliament. The bill should: put responsibility on the duty bearers and politicians to protect their citizens; hold those accountable for inciting violence based on religious and ethnic lines; provide provisions for adequate compensation for loss of life and damage of property; and hold government accountable if they fail to provide timely compensation. The act should also hold political parties accountable for felicitating and allocating election tickets to individuals who have been participating directly or indirectly in communal violence.
Thank you for your attention.
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