What Keeps Minority Affairs Ministry Officials Awake at Night?

Muslim Inspector
Inspector Yaseen Sheikh surrounded by Hindutwa rioters

Masoom Moradabadi

On February 24 during a conference, held in Delhi, the Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was thrown off balance, when a high official of his own ministry openly said that ‘the situation that has been created in the country with regard to minorities has made him lose his sleep.’

Inspector2
Inspector Yaseen Sheikh in hospital

The Minister had taken all the necessary precautions to keep any dissenting voices from the delegates, who had come to Delhi to attend the annual National Conference of the State Commission of Minorities, mum but he could not stop an Additional Secretary of his own ministry, Mr Ajay Kumar from saying, ‘Please Sir, make sure that an atmosphere of amity and mutual confidence among the minorities prevails, so that we bureaucrats like us could be able to sleep peacefully.’

At the end of the conference presenting a resolution of thanks to Mr. Naqvi, Ajay Kumar apologised to him and said, ’Please forgive me for breaching the code of conduct and let me tell you the truth. Fact is that the atmosphere with regards to minorities in the country has been sensitive that we are unable to have peaceful sleep at night.’

Mr Ajay Kumar is an IAS officer from the 1984 Batch and hails from Bihar. His courage and outspokenness was greatly appreciated by all the delegates. They said that they had also wanted during the conference to raise the issue of increasing sense of lack of confidence about security among minorities but were not allowed to speak.

Member of Kerala Minority Commission K P Mariappa said, ‘every delegate was uneasy about the situation and had wanted to talk about it but they were kept quiet with an excuse of want of time.’ The delegates however were much pleased to note that their concerns were in the end raised by the Additional Secretary of the ministry concerned himself.

Modi Government’s cabinet minister Najma Heptullah or minister of state Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi may keep on blaring  that the debate on the issue of insecurity in the country is merely an effort of the ‘so called secular parties’ to pose as the well-wishers of minorities. The fact, however, is that ever since Modi Government has come to power, aggressive and anti-minorities elements in the Sangh Parivar have been given open freedom. Their main targets are minorities and weaker sections of the country. Muslims are being subjected to violence and extremist sectarianism all over. They are being robbed of their constitutional rights. Latest of such a proof is the barbarism meted out on a Muslim police inspector in District Latur of Maharashtra.

One shudders to read the story of this 57 year old Muslim police inspector who was forced during his duty hours to perform an illegal act, and when he resisted, he was mercilessly beaten.

Incidents like this have attracted the attention of international human rights organisations towards India. In this regard Amnesty International’s recent report is the latest proof wherein concern has been expressed on the increasing atmosphere of intolerance in India.

What one is amazed to note the address of Central Minister Najma Heptullah at the conference of Minority Commission, wherein she made lofty claims that her Government has opened all the channels of its treasury for the welfare of minorities and has initiated a number of new schemes.  But she had no answer on the question of increasing sense of insecurity among minorities in the country. However, the minister of state Mr Naqvi did try to engage in an exercise of self-assurance saying, ‘Some of the so-called secular parties are vying with each other and are trying to pose as the well-wishers of minorities and that is what is impeding the process of progress of the country. The trust and confidence of minorities in these parties is a matter of concern.’

It seems that in regards to the atrocities committed against the minorities, the Government is acting like an ostrich (burying it head in sand). It may ignore the voices being raised within the country but the reaction of international bodies [to these events] is enough to tarnish India’s image at international level. On one hand Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been touring the world in order to attract foreign investment in India while on the other hand the activists of Sangh Parivar are busy in shattering the fabric of communal harmony and human rights within the country.

The report presented, last Wednesday, by the international human rights organisation Amnesty International about the incidents of increasing sense of insecurity in India is enough to show Modi Government the true image.

Deploring the increasing trend of intolerance in India in its report Amnesty International has said that Indian Government has failed in curbing incidents of religious violence and that provocative, sectarian and partisan speeches have increased communal violence.

According to the report, Government has banned NGOs critical of its policies from receiving foreign contributions. Incidents of censorship and attacks by Hindu organisations on freedom of speech have increased. So many artists, literary figures and scientists have returned their national awards [bestowed upon them] in protest against the prevailing intolerance.

This report by Amnesty is a proof that minorities are being deprived of the right to live with dignity. They are being targeted because of their religious identity. Such is the audacity of miscreants that not only are they targeting common people but are also making the lives difficult of those who are serving the country with honesty and integrity. Recently in Dadri a village in Uttar Pradesh the father of a Muslim youth Mohammad Akhlaq serving the Indian Air Force was brutally lynched, now they have brutally targeted a beard sporting Muslim police inspector in District Latur of Maharashtra.

In Pangaon village of District Latur a crowd of around 300 people had tried to hoist saffron flag at a disputed land. When the police arrived at the scene to stop the illegal act, the crowed attacked it. Rest of the police staff ran away from there but the rioters caught the 57 year old Inspector Yaseen Sheikh. He was forced to hold the saffron flag and was forced to march with it and then hoist it at the disputed site. When he refused he was beaten up and injured. Yaseen Sheikh is being treated for injuries in a hospital.

What is surprising is that when the miscreants caught Yaseen Sheikh, instead of helping him his colleagues fled from the scene and  did not feel any embarrassment in leaving their inspector colleague at the mercy of wild beasts.

Incidents like this are promoting a fascist culture in the country. The top leadership in the Government is watching these developments as a mute spectator and does not seem to be in a mood to take any action. Obviously the Government is busy in dealing with the seditious elements in JNU and does not have time to take notice of the crimes causing embarrassment to the country internationally.

Translated from Jadid Khabar, 28 Feb 2016, by Urdu Media Monitor.Com

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