Cautioning against cynicism about government efforts to secure minority rights, Minister for Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid on Friday cited the recent naming of Jamia Millia Islamia as a minority institution to assure minorities how the government could bring about institutional change.
Addressing delegates at the annual meet of representatives from state minority commissions organized by the National Commission for Minorities, he promised that a “very attractive” Bill to check communal violence was round the corner.
“We were being asked: why don’t you declare Jamia’s minority character? We couldn’t do that; it had to be institutionalized. A forum had to take a view,” said Khurshid. “So we saw to it that a forum heard arguments and reached a decision.”
He however added there were still two views whether Jamia’s minority status was good for the minority community or not.
However, soon after the minister spoke, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt said the National Commission of Minorities should play an adversarial role rather than being timid: “The reality is that we haven’t delivered to minorities Nehru’s promise to them.”
About the much-talked Communal Violence Bill, Khurshid said, “It is now in the last mile, or kilometer, or steps. Many inputs have been provided. A very attractive Communal Violence Bill is about to come.”
NCM chairman Wajahat Habibullah, said he would work with the government to ensure that people of Jammu and Kashmir benefit from the NCM and the state gets its own Minorities Commission.
The conference also reviewed the implementation of the Sachar Committee recommendations and the PM’s 15-point programme on minorities.