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Demand for separate anti-atrocities law for minorities in Gujarat

By Our Representative
A Gujarat-based civil rights organization has demanded that the state assembly, currently in session in Gandhinagar, should come up with Minorities (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, on line with the anti-atrocities laws for scheduled castes and tribes. The decision was taken at a well-attended meeting of the Minority Coordination Committee (MCC) in the state capital.
Jignesh Mevani, independent MLA from Vadnagar, and a well-known Dalit rights leader and also popular among minorities, told the meeting that he would surely raise the issue of having such a law in the assembly. “I would come up with a private member’s bill on this if this does not happen”, he assured about 600 minority representatives from across Gujarat attending the meet.
MCC convener Mujahid Nafees, addressing the meeting, said that the need for such a law is important because atrocities against minorities are increasing in the state. Even those transporting buffalo are being attacked by cow vigilantes. Even as coming up with a list of other demands, the meeting decided to take them to Delhi to put pressure on the state government to ensure that the state officialdom takes note of “neglect” of the minorities.
Apart from having an anti-atrocities law, the list of demands included setting up of a minority welfare department and a commission, budgeted funds allocation for minorities, who form 11.5% of the population of the state, opening up government schools up to higher secondary in minority areas, recognition of the madarsa degree as equivalent to the school education board, rehabilitation of the minorities displaced during the 2002 communal riots, and so on.

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