National minority body holds meet in Mumbai

  • Swati Goel Sharma, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 28, 2015 19:50 IST

On the concluding day of the two-day visit of the National Minority Commission (NCM) panel to Mumbai, the Parsi community demanded “a waqf-like board” for managing its properties across the country.

At the meeting, attended by 50 eminent Parsis, at the office of Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) on Friday, in the presence of NCM chairman Naseem Ahmed and member Dadi E Mistry, members said the community’s properties such as fire temples, doongerwadis and institutes in some villages of Gujarat and Maharashtra were being encroached upon, in the absence of local anjumans, and should be controlled by the Parsi Anjuman of India.

The NCM asked members to prepare a list of such properties across India. A 5% reservation for the community in Parsi educational institutes and representation in the Parliament were other demands.

Separate meetings were held for the Christian and Jain communities on Friday. A meeting was held at the Archdiocese of Bombay office, attended by NCM members Mabel Rebello and Ajaib Singh. Representatives of the Archdiocese suggested a communication cell be formed to keep a track of probes in cases relating to Christian and other minority religious places.

“The idea came after we got to know that four out of six cases of [alleged] church attacks in Delhi were heading to a closure,” said Archdiocese spokesperson Fr Nigel Barrett.

Several Jain organisations, led by Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO) met NCM members Praveen Davar, NK Gautam and TN Shanoo at JITO’s Andheri office, and demanded mandatory Jain representation in minority cells at the state as well as the national level. The community expressed concern over the rising accident and death cases involving sadhus and sadhvis, and a need for restoration of ancient Jain temples. Another demand was clarity on benefits that the community is entitled to, after being accorded the minority status last year.

“These demands will be discussed within the commission and taken up with the government. It’s perhaps the first time that the NCM, a stationery body, has reached out to states directly,” said Dr Gautam.

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