Reacting to an Indian Express report dated February 25 — “Minister watching, minority panel official says: Can’t sleep at night, mahaul worrying” — National Commission for Minorities secretary Amrendra Sinha has sent a rejoinder saying, “The report is factually incorrect at best. Charitably it can be called tendentious reporting but in fact is fictitious and trying to make non-existent news. Quotes have been attributed to the officer which he simply did not say.”
Sinha adds: “A transcript of the entire speech is enclosed for ready reference along with a video recording of the same.”
The Express report had said, “Additional Secretary in the National Commission for Minorities Ajoy Kumar reportedly said that the ‘situation in the country (regarding minorities) is not allowing him to sleep peacefully’ and appealed to the government to ensure calm and confidence. Kumar was delivering the vote of thanks at the National Conference of the State Commissions of Minorities in presence of Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.” The transcript and the video establish the Express report on Kumar’s speech, mostly addressed to Naqvi. Here’s the transcript:
“Honorable MoS Minority and Parliamentary Affairs Sri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, honorable chairperson of the National Minority Commission Sri Naseem Ahmad Sahab, honorable members and the secretary of the National Minority Commission, officers of the central and state governments, honorable media persons, and ladies and gentlemen. It is a matter of great pride and pleasure that on behalf of the National Minority Commission, I am present here to offer a vote of thanks to the respected audience. This daylong annual conference was extremely significant as we all shared the thoughts of the distinguished persons. Sir, your address today, it’s not only me, Ajay Kumar, who is speaking as the additional secretary, it is possible that I am not representing the views of the national commission. Your address, it was not only emotional, but it also seemed to be an address of a guardian. I would like to mention that this annual conference began at 10 am, and I was surprised to learn that in both technical sessions we had today, we had to-the-point discussions on minorities, and none of the state minorities commissions diverted the issues. Sir, this shows that the state minorities commissions mean business, they want to do things for the development of minorities.
“But one thing more I want to bring before you, and I think, I must. Sir, I am an IAS officer of 1984 batch, of Bihar cadre. I am part of the government. I know that the government has infinite power. I also know that nothing stands anywhere before the government. I have served as the district collector at several places, in several districts of Bihar. Many ways are available, many solutions exist. Sir, I request you through this forum that whatever forums and solutions are available, all ways are needed to be explored to look for solutions. Let me tell you the truth, it is possible that somewhere I am going against the code of conduct. But we all are human beings and we have to sleep and I am unable to sleep. Before this forum, I would not come up with the reasons, why I am not able to sleep. But I tell you very very frankly that I we are not able to sleep, Sir. So, Sir, we are in the government and there is no, no problem at all which, I believe, we cannot solve. We all want to live and we all want to live, Sir, very very peacefully.
“I am a Hindu. I was educated in a convent school and the sisters took only Rs 3.50. One of my friends is there. He is sitting there, Sir. When my parents did not have the ability to afford my education, we were many siblings, then it was that sister of the convent who educated our entire family at Rs 3.50, and today we are before you, Sir.”
“Sir, I believe that it was extremely important for me to utter these things because my family members also say these. I want to bring it to your knowledge that you take it to the right place. We want to live, we want to live in peace. Sir, we have the potential, we are developing and there is no doubt about it that we are the best. So, I am sorry if I have done and I have said something I should not have said but if I would not have said, further I would not have been able to sleep and Sir, before anything else, I offer my gratitude to the MoS Minority and Parliamentary Affairs minister on behalf of the commission for his sharing his thoughts, emotional speech and offering guidance. I also assure you that this august body, they want peace, they want to develop and they have shown their commitment that they will do and we hope for a better coordination between the national commission for Minorities and state minorities commissions. Second, I express my thanks to the delegates present at the conference, special participants and guests who have ensured their participation in today’s programme and offered invaluable suggestions. We offer a special thanks to the entire team of the media for its participation and coverage of the programme. I offer my thanks to the honorable chairperson, secretary and members of the National Minority Commission for their guidance towards the preparation of the conference.”