An introspective minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Friday attributed the current bout of political squabbles over draft laws — from Wakf to communal violence — to ‘perhaps an inadequate understanding of democracy’. He was speaking at a talk hosted by HT in its offices on Friday.
The draft Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Regulations) Bill 2011, has been criticised, especially by the BJP, for penalising communal violence only against minorities.
Khurshid said everyone “must be adequately protected” from communal violence. “That will always be the case. But those who are few in numbers may be a little more vulnerable and need a little more protection.”
Khurshid redefined minorities to include not just those few in number but also those who are clearly disadvantaged. “Therefore, as a minister for minorities, I want to be able to help Brahmins from Kashmir or Bahais or Jews or Jains,” he said.
He said his desire was to see his ministry “evolve into a ministry for equal opportunities”. He said the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), a recommendation of the Sachar report, was the “best idea to have been born in the last 60 years”.
“The EOC is a next generation idea of equality that goes beyond reservation. I am sad we are not being able to see it through yet,” the minister said.
On the Wakf bill, Khurshid said his ministry wants to stop “selling or re-selling” of such assets of charity. “But there is opposition because some obviously don’t want a situation where they cannot make money by selling them.”