A delegation of minority communities plans to submit to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani “one lakh” petitions listing their demands which were signed by members of various religious groups as part of a month-long campaign, in Gandhinagar on Tuesday. Prominent demands include setting up of minorities affairs department in Gujarat and implementation of the Prime Minister’s new 15-point programme.
The signature campaign which was started a month ago by the Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a civil rights organisation claims to have collected one lakh signatures. Mujahid Nafees, convener, MCC, said a delegation plans to call on Rupani with a charter of demands, seeking constitutional rights of minorities in the state.
“The state has a population of 80 lakh persons belonging to the minority communities, but there is no department in the state government for minorities unlike other states in the country,” said Nafees, adding that the budgetary provision for minority communities in the state was Rs 55 lakh only. Other states have much bigger minority budgets. “For example, UP has a provision of Rs 700 crore and West Bengal has provided Rs 1,700 crore,” he said.
Nafees said a delegation of MCC would also meet with Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Paresh Dhanani and all MLAs in the Assembly and put forth eight major demands. These include separate financial provisions in state Budget 2018-19, setting up of government higher secondary schools in areas dominated by particular minority community, a policy for rehabilitation of internally displaced persons, Nafees said. “As part of our campaign we will hand over the petitions signed by individuals belonging to religious minority groups, including Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, and Jains, to the CM. We will also offer him roses,” he said.