The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to provide statutory powers to the National Minorities Commission and hoped that a bill on this would soon get parliament's nod.
"The bill proposing amendments to empower the commission with statutory powers is still pending in parliament. It is imperative on the part of the government to give top priority for this bill to be adopted," the IUML said in a memorandum submitted to the prime minister in New Delhi at a meeting here.
The party, which is a constituent of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, said a bill against communal violence, pending before parliament, should also be passed "at the earliest".
The League leadership praised the UPA government for "taking a bold decision to make statutory changes" in the Representation of the People's Act to facilitate voting rights for non-resident Indians (NRIs).
"This is the fulfilment of the long cherished wish of the people of Indian origin living in foreign lands, especially in the Gulf countries," the IUML said and expressed hope that the government would take steps to bring the necessary amendments.
The IUML also urged the prime minister to secure the release of Indians languishing in jails in the Gulf countries.
"Though we have cordial relations with these countries, many of our people are still stranded both inside and outside the jails and unable to return home due to cumbersome procedures and technicalities. Their pathetic situation should be addressed," said the memorandum.
The IUML delegation, which was led by its president and union minister E Ahmed, included senior leader ET Mohammed Basheer and its Kerala general secretary PK Kunhalikutty. They also asked the prime minister to "ensure that the Haj pilgrimage this year is managed well".