By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi : Calling those who opposed government’s policies on minorities as “Professional Protestors”, Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Saturday that the “Talibani mentality” on women’s liberty, dignity, empowerment, and constitutional equality will not be tolerated in India.
He was speaking at the National Commission for Minorities’ (NCM) “Minorities Day Celebration” event here.While the minority panel chief also asserted that minorities are 100% protected and secure under the present regime.
The minority panel organizes a lecture by a distinguished fellow on minority rights or a person who has contributed to minority rights every year to commemorate the International Minority Rights Day.
But it defied convention this year by inviting Minority Affairs Minister Naqvi as a keynote speaker.
Naqvi’s address concentrated on topics unrelated to the security and safety of minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians, who have been targeted by right-wing organizations since the BJP administration assumed power. In defending the controversial triple talaq law, Naqvi claimed that those who opposed making Triple Talaq a crime, or who questioned the removal of the restriction on Muslim women performing Haj with only Mehram, and who are now causing a stir over constitutional equality regarding women’s marriage age are “Professional Protesters” of the Indian Constitution’s essence.
According to Naqvi, the government’s “Determination to Development with Dignity” has dismantled “Duping Appeasement.” “The Constitutional and social commitment of Indians, particularly the majority community, has assured that Minorities’ socioeconomic, educational, religious, and other rights are fully safe and secure in the country,” he asserted.
While India is home to believers of practically all world religions, it also has a sizable population of atheists who are treated with dignity and have equal constitutional and social rights.
He praised Modi, saying the administration has worked with the dedication of “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas” for the past seven years, ensuring substantial reforms and inclusive growth of all parts of society, including minorities.
He also praised the Minority Panel for protecting minorities’ rights and ensuring their well-being in the country.
He added that through “Hunar Haat,” the government has offered a respectable platform for indigenous artisans and craftspeople from all corners of the country. During the last six years, almost 7 lakh artisans, craftsmen, and others linked with them have been given work and job prospects.
The minister also made a tall claim about scholarships.
“The Government, after 2014, has given scholarships to about 5 crore students from 6 notified Minority communities—Parsis, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims. About 50 per cent of the beneficiaries are girl students. It has resulted into significant decline in school dropout rate among the Minorities especially Muslim girls. School dropout rate among Muslim girls which was more than 70 per cent before 2014, has now come down to less than about 30 per cent”.
He said the Government has provided employment and self-employment opportunities to more than 12 lakh Minority communities’ people during the last 7 years. The Government has developed more than 49 thousand major infrastructures such as schools, colleges, ITIs, polytechnics, degree colleges, residential schools, drinking water and toilet facilities, anganwadi centres, skill development centres, common service centres etc in deprived areas across the country under “Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karykram” (PMJVK) during the last 7 years.
Naqvi further said that the Minorities have also been immensely benefited from various schemes of the Central Government. About 22 to 37 per cent beneficiaries of “Mudra Yojana”, “Jan Dhan Yojana”, “Ayushman Bharat Yojana”, “Kisaan Samman Nidhi”, “Ujjwala Yojana”, “Swacch Bharat Mission”, drinking water and electricity schemes belong to the weaker and backward Minorities.
Minister of State for Minority Affairs John Barla spoke at the event, saying that minorities should be aware of the many schemes available to them, such as educational loans and scholarships, and take use of them. He stated that the Ministry is providing help for the establishment of Sadbhawna Mandap, schools, colleges, hospitals, and coaching centres under Prime Minister Jan Vikas Karyakram. He also asked that community leaders raise awareness about the Minority Ministry’s programmes that are available to minorities.
In his address, NCM Chairman Iqbal Singh Lalpura remarked that, despite the nefarious objectives of the nation’s enemies, India has been riot-free for the past 7-8 years, except a few occurrences. He stated that the National Commission for Minorities is considering forming an Inter-Faith Coordination Council at the national level, and that the same might be explored at the state and district levels. Interfaith research is something that should be supported. Lalpura believes that efforts should be made to raise knowledge about the fundamental components of other religions so that people can learn about different groups’ beliefs and cultures. The Commission also intends to create a book that will compile vital religious knowledge. He went on to say that religious leaders’ efforts to spread the Minority Ministry’s schemes are critical for the wellbeing of minority populations at the grassroots level.
Lalpura highlighted the role of the NCM in proactively reaching out to the minority communities and assuring them of a fair and just hearing in all cases of grievances. Chairman and other members of the Commission are undertaking visits to various states for reviewing the implementation of schemes for minority communities besides taking up their grievances for resolution and also informed about the launch of a mobile app of Complaint Monitoring System of the Commission.
When this scribe asked him the pointed question about the growing insecurity in minorities particularly in Muslims and Christians, he said “minorities are 100 per cent secure under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and the narrative that hate incidents have gone up during the present dispensation is false narrative.
It is worth noting that the Minority Day event became a political function for the first time, with slogans being voiced as frequently as possible throughout the proceedings. The majority of those invited appeared to be from the ruling party.