How many students have dropped out due to discontinuation of minority schemes, NCM chairman asks States

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has asked the States to provide data on the dropout status after the discontinuation of schemes for minorities such as the Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) and the pre- and post-matric fellowships, NCM chairman Iqbal Singh Lalpura said on Wednesday.

“We had attempted to find out how many are in the loss due to discontinuation of such schemes which were stopped due to overlapping of many government schemes for welfare of people. All couldn’t find anything concrete in this so far,” he said, adding that those who were creating an issue out of this were not from the minority communities.

Mr. Lalpura, who was addressing members of the State minority commissions, also said that the national panel had written a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah about sensitising the administration about the attacks on minorities by vigilante groups in various States.

Two men, Nasir and Junaid, from Bharatpur district of Rajasthan were allegedly abducted by cow vigilantes in February. Their bodies were found in a charred car in Haryana’s Bhiwani the next day.

Speaking at the Ambedkar International Centre here, Mr. Lalpura said such crimes were not organised crime but isolated incidents, which some time show the communities in bad light.

“We have requested the Home Ministry to sensitise the States about attacks on minorities so that incidents like Bhiwani do not take place,” he said.

The NCM chairman also announced that the commission will publish a book on religious practices of all six registered minority communities in India. The book will also have chapters on Hinduism. The commission will make a pitch to the Home Ministry to make the book part of the school syllabus.

The chairman said since Independence, India had witnessed an approximate 5% decrease in majority population and 5% increase in minority population. “This shows the level of protection, India has provided to the minority communities,” he added.

The event was divided in two sessions. In one of the sessions, the role of the administration in resolving the issues of minorities in India was discussed. The panellists took up issues such as alleged fraudulent conversions, hate speeches against minorities, incidents of violence, problem in obtaining minority certificates and the lack of awareness about minority welfare schemes.

The panellists said that greater sensitivity among the police force for tackling cases involving minorities, promotion of inclusiveness of diversity, building a uniform system across the country for issuing minority certificates, wide publicity of government schemes for raising awareness and encouraging dialogue between all the minority communities would help in promoting communal harmony.

The NCM members also maintained that several States in India did not have minority commissions due to which the the purpose of welfare schemes was failing. They also regretted how Punjab, which has around 57% Sikh population, failed to pass the ‘Anand Marriage Act’. “As many as 10 States still don’t have minority commissions,” Mr. Lalpura said.

Speaking about efforts to make the commission people-friendly, Mr. Lalpura said the authorities were in the process of launching an application where people can share their complaints. “The app will have all welfare schemes pertaining to minorities. It will be a smooth platform and fast as well,” the chairman said.

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