Punjab education minister Daljit Singh Cheema on Friday advocated that the minority status must be accorded only at the national level and not at the state level.
Addressing a northern region workshop organised by National Commission for Minority Education Institutions (NCMEI) here, he said the minority status only at the national level be constitutionally mandated. “It would be dangerous to consider a state as a base for the minority status,” he added.
“Sikhs in Punjab, Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir and Christians in southern states are in majority, and the matter has reached the Supreme Court and the commission should strongly defend this as an obligation to protect minority rights,” he said.
The minister said the commission should raise a bold voice to protect the minority rights and work for strengthening the republic. He said if various statuses were granted at the state level, it might confine it later to district or block levels, which would be dangerous. He gave the example that Muslims in Malerkotla and Christians in certain blocks of Majha would be considered as majority communities in case the criterion of minority status is assessed with a block as the base.
The workshop was inaugurated by Punjab and Haryana governor Kaptan Singh Solanki. Prominent among those present there included Haryana cabinet minister Kavita Jain, NCMEI members Baltej Singh Mann, Zafar Agha and Navid Abidi, and Punjab State Minority Commission chairman Munawar Masih.