Chief ministers attending the National Integration Council (NIC) meeting in New Delhi have come down heavily against the proposed Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Regulations) Bill, 2011, which many of them pointed out, is "dangerous" legislation that would maim the country's federal structure as well.
The bill, which opposition BJP leader Sushma Swaraj described as "dangerous" legislation which would "encourage communalism" rather than curbing it and further the divide between majority and minority communities, was also opposed by UPA constituent Trinamool Congress, and the AAIDMK.
Chief ministers of states, including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Punjab, expressed opposition to the draft bill in its present form.
Speaking at the NIC meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik said the draft bill has some "objectionable" provisions which "directly affect the autonomy of states".
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, whose speech was read out in absentia, said "it is not the opportune moment to comment on the bill".
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar also voiced concern over certain provisions in the bill, saying it may create the "impression" among the people at large that the majority community is "always responsible for communal incidents".