Minority groups voice concerns at BJP pre-poll programmeElections 2019
Union ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Thaawar Chand Gehlot, said that the party would consider the concerns of the minorities while preparing its ‘sankalp patra’ (manifesto).
New Delhi: Muslims are worried and they need someone to address their concerns, All India Imam Association president Maulana Mohd Sajid Rashidi said, reflecting the sentiments of the minority groups present at a BJP pre-poll programme on Thursday.
Several representatives of minority communities voiced their concerns over incidents affecting certain sections of the society like lynching, saffronisation of education, distortion of historical facts and media trial of Muslim youths arrested in suspected terror cases at the event, ‘Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat, Modi Ke Saath’, an exercise launched by the party to prepare its manifesto in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
“The Muslim community is worried. They have been exploited and now they want somebody to listen to them and address their issues. BJP should pay attention to this.
“Muslim youths who are being caught in connection with suspected terror activities undergo media trial even before being proved guilty. This should stop as it destroys both the lives of these youths and their families. They should be punished if found guilty and the entire community will disown them,” Rashidi said.
Rashidi also said that the government should provide compensation to youths who are acquitted after spending several years in jail as undertrials so that they can live a life of dignity in society.
He said there is a perception among Muslims that the ruling BJP is against the community and doesn’t want it votes nor wants to give them any election ticket. “This perception should change,” he added.
Father Joseph Manipadam, National Secretary, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) Office for Education and Culture, said that the minority communities should feel secure in the country and sought the extension of SC status and reservation for Muslims and Christians.
“There should be no suppression of institutions and media, or any form of lynching due to differences of religions, practices or food habits…government must protect indigenous cultures and communities, take special care of dalits, tribals, the poor and the marginalised,” he said.
He also stated that the eviction of tribals from their lands should be stopped.
He also spoke against the saffronisation of textbooks and distortion of historical facts and demanded that Christian missionaries be involved in drafting the National Education Policy, citing their immense contribution.
He also sought revival of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) saying it was still without a chairperson and a Christian member for the last two years. Facilitate issuing minority certificates by the state minority commission and NCMEI without too many hassles.
Raising the problems faced by the Parsi community, Ava Khullar, President of Delhi Parsi Anjuman, sought reservation for youths from the community, at least in medical and engineering institutions which have been endowed by Parsi money.
Stating the population of the community was shrinking with there being only two-three families left in some towns, and that the properties left are being encroached upon by other communities, she said that the new government should help in protecting these properties.
She also suggested setting up of state minority commissions in Maharashtra and Gujarat having the large Parsi population so that the concerns of the community can be represented.
Indian film-maker Muzaffar Ali, who was also present at the event, said that the multi-cultural, secular heritage of the cultural institutions in the country should be preserved and that there should be transparency in such organisations.
Similarly, representatives of the Sikh and other communities also put forth their concerns and suggestions.
Union Minority Affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot, who received the suggestions, said that the party would consider them while preparing its ‘sankalp patra’ (manifesto).