Skip to main content

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Gujarat minorities demanding rehabilitation package for 2002 communal riot affected people
Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.

Text of the letter:

You have been the Chief Minister of Gujarat for threetimes and are now the Prime Minister of the country, and this is a Constitutional post. You took oath while becoming Chief Minister and Prime Minister that you will follow the Constitution of this country. But we are very sorry to tell you that you appear to not very keen to fulfil your Constitutional responsibilities and respect the international treaties to which India is a signatory.
When you were the Chief Minister of Gujarat, you gave the slogan “sabka vikas, sabke saath” (development of all, by taking along all together), but you forgot to develop the minorities; not only that, you pushed minorities even further to the wall.
Sir, you have tried very hard to get rid of the Constitutional dictum, that the state is not aligned with any particular religion; instead, you have tried to pit Hindus against Muslims. But we are happy to inform you that citizens of India have woken up and they have started demanding implementation of their constitutional rights.
On January 18, 2019, we had planned to tell this to you, and also wanted to remind you to keep high the dignity of the office you occupy, and that you should obey international treaties. However, you took away our constitutional right to protest. Police picked us up from our home and we were made to sit in the police station throughout the day. It did not add to the dignity of the office you occupy.
This has made us write this open letter to you.
We feel that you must ensure that the Constitutional rights of the minorities, which are enshrined in Sections 14,15(2), 15(4), 16(1), 16(2), 16(4), 25(1), 26,27, 28,29(1), 29(2), 30(1, 30(2), 347, 350(A), 350(B), 37,38(2), 46,51(A), 51(C) of the Constitution, are taken care of. 
These sections refer to equality before law and state, non-discrimination on the basis of religion, ethnicity, race, sex, or place of birth, special care to socially and educationally backward classes, protecting the interests of minorities, including their distinct language, script or culture – all of which is not being implemented in Gujarat today.
Mujahid Nafees
India is a signatory to Articles 2, 6, 7, 8, and 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights dated December 10, 1948, which concern the development and protection of minorities. It is also a signatory to the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, dated December 18, 1992. 
More recently, after you took over reigns of the government, in 2015, India signed on the United Nations treaty on Millennium Development Goal (Sustainable Development Goals), whose goal Nos 10 and 16 especially focus on minorities.
While India has accepted these international agreements, these are not being implemented in Gujarat.
The Minority Coordination Committee (MCC) wants to pose to you a few questions, and we will be happy to get their answers in any pre-planned press conference which you may wish to address:
  • As you know, there exists the need to have a separate department to run schemes for the development for any community identified as backward. Taking this into account, in 2006, a Minority Affairs Ministry was set up at the Centre, and departments on similar lines were set up in several states. Why not in Gujarat? 
  • The Government of India set aside Rs 4,700 crore for this year for the development of minorities. Similarly, separate allocation have been made in some other states of the country. Why not in Gujarat?
  • There exists National Minorities Commission at the Centre and State Minority Commissions in 18 states for the redress of the grievances of minority communities. Why not in Gujarat? 
  • In Gujarat, the girls’ dropout rate at the primary school level is 1.67%, but it 10.58% among the state’s Muslim girls. What this? 
  • Why is there a severe shortage of higher secondary schools in Gujarat's minority-dominated areas? 
  • In other states of the country, children studying Arabic, Persian and Urdu have been recognized as equivalent to the respective official languages. If this is true of the country and other states, why not in Gujarat? 
  • Several government-appointed committees and commissions and their reports suggest that minority communities haven't still not become part the mainstream, especially in Gujarat. If this is true, why can’t minorities in Gujarat have a special economic package, in the same way as other communities have been allocated on account of their backwardness? 
  • Thousands of families have been displaced in Gujarat due to communal violence. Why didn’t Government of Gujarat come up with any policy for their rehabilitation? 
  • Following the recommendations of the Sachar Committee, the Prime Minister's new 15-point programme is being implemented by the Central government and in most Indian states. However, its implementation in Gujarat is almost non-existent. Why? 
We hope that you will answer these questions and move towards fulfilling your Constitutional obligation and international treaties to which India is a signatory.
---
*Free translation from Hindi

Comments

TRENDING

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”