Member of the National Minority Commission, Ajaib Singh, who visited the state last month, has sent a detailed report of the commission's findings on the problems faced by minorities to the chief minister. Singh had met the officials of Bathinda, Mansa and Ludhiana districts on his 3-day analysis tour in Punjab.
The report primarily highlights the problem of scanty availability of land for graveyards faced by the minority community. HT has accessed the report which says Christians have only one graveyard in Bathinda district catering to the needs of people from Bathinda, Mansa and Barnala.
The commission also found that competitive exams are being held on the occasion of Christian religious festivals of Easter, Good Friday and other holidays of the minority community.
The report says members of the Muslim community in Bathinda complained that the owners of marriage halls often refuse to rent them out to members of the minority community for organising social functions. The members of the Sikh community in Bathinda complained about three liquor shops being run in close proximity to the Girls Higher Secondary School and their repeated requests to the district administration for shifting of the shops have proved fruitless.
Highlighting a case of land grab in Ludhiana, the report says the walls of a mosque in Chauda Bazaar were demolished by some people intending to encroach the land but a timely intervention by the district administration foiled their bid.
In its conclusion, the report recommends the state government should direct the district administrations to allot separate and sufficient land to the minorities for construction of graveyard and community hall as it would facilitate the proper organisation of religious functions. Further recommendations include constitution of separate directorate for minorities to oversee the implementation of all minority-related schemes.
The report also suggests the state government should ensure that competitive exams are not held on the occasion of sacred days like Christmas, Good Friday and Easter.