Skip to main content

Amend "discriminatory" law, give reservation to Dalit Muslims, Christians: Parties told

By Our Representative
The Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has come up with a 14-point demands list for inclusion into political parties’ election manifestos for the 2019 polls. To be sent to political parties and their candidates shortly, these demands seek obligatory formation of minority commissions in every state and having a minority department in each state by promulgating law in Parliament.
Releasing the demands at a media conference in Ahmedabad, Mujahid Nafees, convener, MCC, said, currently, minorities in Gujarat are feeling neglected, as none of the two major political parties are ready to take up their cause. He told media, while “one cannot expect anything from the BJP, which has been undermining the minorities’ rights at every step, we are left with an alternative in Gujarat in the form of Congress, which doesn’t represent their demands in the same way as some parties do, say, in Uttar Pradesh.”
Seeking to drop Article 341 of the Constitution, which names specific religions (Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist) for providing reservation to scheduled castes, Nafees said, originally, when the Constitution was made, there was "no obligation" to be part of a particular religion for scheduled caste status. "This article was inserted by promulgating the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1956, which is discriminatory. There are Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians, too, who are discriminated in the same way as other Dalits are, yet they are not being provided with the advantage of reservation", he said.
Claiming that minorities in Gujarat have “considerable influence” and can be “decisive” on eight to 10 seats of the Lok Sabha out of 26 in Gujarat, Nafees suggested there is a need for a “right kind of alliance with other oppressed sections, such as Dalits, who also have suffered under the BJP rule." Citing the example of Ahmedabad West (one of the two scheduled caste reserved seats), he added, the ruling party can be defeated here if minorities and Dalits come together.

Text of the demands

1. The National Minorities Commission Act 1992 should be amended and it should be given constitutional status and the State Minority Commission should be made mandatory for all the states 
The National Commission of Minority Act 1992 is an ineffective legislation, which lacks distinguishable mechanism for the creation of a commission in different states. The powers of the commission are not clearly marked, due to which the effective and proper disposal of complaints of minority communities cannot be done in the country. There are state minority commissions in 18 states of the country. But there is no minority commission in Gujarat. Therefore, we demand that the National Minorities Commission Act 1992 should be amended, it should be given constitutional status and the formation of minority commission should be made mandatory for all the states.
2. Establishment of equal opportunities commission
The Sachar Committee Report showed that the Muslim population of the country is behind the national average in employment (government, private), education and opportunities. This is due to rampant discrimination; they are being deprived of opportunities. Therefore, to meet the basic sense of the Constitution, "Equal Opportunities to All", an equal opportunities commission should be formed and constitutional powers be given to it so that all the minority communities of the country can get equal opportunities.
3. Establishment of department of minority affairs in all states
The Sachar Committee Report shed light on the plight of the minority community and the kind of discrimination they are facing in the country. The minority affairs ministry should be made to work on matters of fundamental infrastructure, education, employment and security in minority populated areas. Due to lack of proper ministry in Gujarat, 11.5% of the population is deprived of opportunities; hence the formation of separate minority affairs department is required in all the states.
4. Special component plan for minorities to ensure allocation in budget
The minority community of the country is lagging behind mainstream in all spheres. The reason behind this is lack of proper budgetary allocation by the government for the development of minority communities. In order to ensure population-wise budget allocation for the minorities in the entire country, there should be a special component plan for them.

5. Minorities (Prevention of Atrocities) Act should be made
To prevent organized attacks on the minority community across the country, an urgent minority (prevention of atrocities) law should be made, and crimes against them should be made non-bailable.
6. Removal of religious obligation from Article 341 of the Constitution
Religious compulsion should be removed from Article 341 (Scheduled Castes) of the Constitution. There was no obligation of religion for Scheduled Castes at the time of implementation of the Constitution, religion was inserted into it by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1956. This article seeks to enhance religious discrimination, and it should be amended, so that the dream of justice can be extended to everyone.
7. Enact law for the prevention of communal violence
To prevent increasing communal violence in the country and to rehabilitate the people affected by it, to get timely justice and to remove fear from the hearts of the minority community, a communal violence prevention law should be enacted, in which special courts should be set up for early hearing of cases related to such violence.
8. Prime Minister's new 15-point programme should be implemented in all the districts of the country
The country's minority society is far behind mainstream; to alleviate its plight the Prime Minister's new 15-point program should be expanded and implemented in all the districts of the country to enable the development of the backward and marginalized sections.
9. Judicial Inquiry Commission on Police Encounters
There is a large number of police encounters allegedly reported across the country and there is a tendency to glorify them. It is a matter of concern as to why only people of minority community are targeted by the police. Therefore, a judicial inquiry commission should be formed on police encounter sin the country, which can bring out the truth.
10. Arms training, exhibiting organizations should be banned
There is a growing trend of arms display in the country; some organizations are openly conducting arms training, demonstration, trident distribution etc., which should be stopped by the government with immediate effect because they are used to scare the minority community. Such arms training, and organizations performing them, should be banned.
11. Protection of Wakf properties
There are large numbers of Waqf properties across the country, which have illegally been encroached upon and sold. There should be a mechanism to save, promote and settle disputes quickly. Waqf tribunals should be made in each district of the state to work for the development of the community.
12. Strengthening of Minority Finance and Development Corporation
The national and state Minority Finance and Development Corporations should be established, for which funds should be earmarked so that the minority community can get small loans and assistance from the corporation time to time.
13. Make laws to ensure political participation
The minority community is a victim of political untouchability in the country. The Constitution of India states and believes in equal participation of all the deprived, weaker sections of the country. But we see that minority representation in politics is considerably less than that the proportion of the population. Therefore, to ensure political representation of deprived classes, laws should be made.
14. Higher secondary schools should be established in minority multi-prong areas
There is a shortage of secondary and senior secondary schools in minority multi-pronged expansions, due to which children, especially girls, drop out of school after getting primary education, and their further education is affected. To ensure equal educational opportunities for all, higher secondary schools should be established in minority multi-pronged areas.

Comments

TRENDING

Tracing roots of Hindutva Zionism: cannon fodder for 'warped' nationalist pretensions

By Shamsul Islam*  Those who believe in a world free of hegemonic ethno-nationalism, racism, religious bigotry and hatred have rightly taken note of Zionism and its ally Christian Zionism, major perpetrators of ethnic cleansing of ‘Others’. However, the civilized world with its core belief in multi-culturalism and peaceful co-existence is oblivious to a no less dangerous threat to the present human civilization: the Hindutva Zionism. As the term reads it is part of the Hindutva world-view which stands for an exclusive Hindu India minus Muslims and Christians. The other religions like Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism will have no independent status but treated as part of Hinduism. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS; National Volunteer Organization) is the most prominent flag-bearer of the Hindutva politics whose cadres presently rule India, the largest democracy in the world. RSS was founded by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (1889-1940) in 1925 who was disillusioned with the Indian freedom st

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Shocking? No Covid vaccine trials conducted on pregnant, lactating women: RTI reply

By Rosamma Thomas*  A Right to Information applicant who sought details of safety trials conducted in India on pregnant and lactating women for three Covid vaccines in use in India – Covishield, Covaxin and ZyCov-D -- was shocked to learn from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) that Serum Institute, manufacturer of Covishield, and Cadila Healthcare, manufacturer of the ZyCov-D vaccine, had not sought permission for such trials.  Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, had sought permission for trial on pregnant women and later withdrawn its application. This response , provided after the applicant was initially unsatisfied with the response and went in appeal, is from the joint drugs controller, CDSCO. It was dated September 13, 2022. One researcher closely following the vaccine rollout, however, is of the opinion that the lack of a trial on pregnant and lactating women is a blessing; potential trial participants and their unborn babies thus escaped harm. Aruna Ro

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Rajasthan cops 'halt' Gujarat Dalit women's rally: homage to untouchability victim boy

By Our Representative  In a surprise move, the Rajasthan police stopped a Dalit women's rally from Gujarat on the borders after it crossed Gujarat alleging that it would "disturb peace" in village Surana, Jalore district, where the gruesome incident of death of a Dalit boy took place on August 13 after he was brutally beaten up by his teacher on touching the drinking water pot. Sources said, while the Gujarat government had "no objection" in allowing the rally, which originated from the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), an empowerment-cut-technical institute for teens founded by human rights leader Martin Macwan, on September 24 morning, the Rajasthan police stopped it for two and a half hours before allowing it to proceed to Surana. The decision to take out a women's rally was taken at a DSK meeting on September 5 following a condolence meeting of the NGO Navsarjan Trust, also founded by Macwan, activists committed to work against caste-based discrimination, orga

Introducing non-native cheetahs is 'not equivalent' to restoring pride in the nation

By Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay*  The Cheetahs from the African continent has finally been introduced to India by the Indian Prime Minister on his 72nd birthday. The process had started with the previous Government in 2009. However, the Supreme Court clearance was pending owing to the objection by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) plea to reintroduce cheetahs. Finally the clearance was obtained in January 2020 and thereafter Kuno National Park (KNP) was chosen for the reintroduction of first set of Southeast African Cheetahs. In the near future, depending upon the success story of the current reintroduction, more cheetahs from South Africa may also be introduced. This exercise has generated a lot of interest among various stakeholders with opinions on both sides galore. It is important to pose some questions that surround the whole exercise. Let us evaluate some of these arguments. The first set of arguments are quite detached from the issues of conservation as they most

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Military diplomacy': US praises Bangladesh Army for leadership role in UN operations

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder* As the Indo-Pacific region represents the world’s economic and strategic center of gravity, the Indian Ocean today is becoming the centerpiece of all geo-strategic play. Cooperation in the region is crucial to implementing the international community’s global agenda, including achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Major powers like the US have enhanced and deepened their strategic engagement and leadership roles with countries in the region. The Indo-Pacific Army Management Seminar, or IPAMS, is a U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) initiated conference that is aimed at facilitating and enhancing interactions among the armies of the Indo-Pacific region. This year's 46th Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS)-2022, co-hosted by the Bangladesh Army and US Army Pacific (USARPAC), concluded in Dhaka. The objective of IPAMS is to promote peace and stability in the region through mutual understanding, dialogue, and friendship. It is the largest confer

Grave error? Scholar blames ex-Gujarat babu for anti-Christian riots 'citing fake report'

By Rajiv Shah  A few days back, I received a message from one of the finest former Gujarat government bureaucrats, PG Ramrakhiani, a 1964 batch IAS official, who retired in November 2000. I would often interact with him in 1997-99, even later, after I was sent to Gandhinagar as a Times of India man to cover Sachivalaya. Those were turbulent times. Shankarsinh Vaghela was the Gujarat chief minister, under attack from two sides – from the BJP, which he had left to form a separate breakaway party, Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP), one one hand, and the Congress, which was supporting him from outside, on the other. Ramrakhiani, in his message, referred to the book authored by Ghanshyam Shah and Jan Breman, both top-notch scholars who have known Gujarat in and out. Called “Gujarat, Cradle and Harbinger of Identity Politics: India’s Injurious Frame of Communalism”, I reviewed the book in January 2022.  It claims that Muslims in Gujarat have been turned into “new untouchables”, thanks to the Hin

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.