Suggesting urgent interventions in urban policies on public housing, education, health and civic amenities, a group of DGPs comprising Sanjeev Dayal of Maharashtra, Deoraj Nagar of UP and K Ramanujam of Tamil Nadu has pointed out that law and order as well as peace in the country depends on whether or not minorities feel the “benefits of economic growth are flowing to them equally” so they “do not feel left out of the mainstream”.
A report prepared by the three DGPs — “Strategy for making police forces more sensitive towards minority sections” — was presented at the 2013 DGs’ conference in New Delhi, and is currently with the Centre, awaiting action.
The report suggested various arms of the government were equally responsible for a “feeling of loss of dignity” among minorities. Apart from the police, other agencies were also lacking in social management skills, it said.
The report looked into surveys and interviews to conclude different arms of the government need to introspect for a good social environment.
The committee found the most common complaints police hear from minorities are regarding lack of civic amenities such as drinking water and an effective sewage system. It said a divide is created when minorities believe basic amenities are denied to their localities due to the bias of municipal workers. “Such an attitude adds to tension between communities,” it said.
“Providing them (amenities) on the same scale as the rest of the community by officers of local bodies could help build bridges and mainstream minorities,” the report said.
The committee also said minority communities face hurdles in finding a good home. To check this, it suggested mixed housing on the lines of the practice abroad and “intervention by law to ensure housing for minorities”.
“Rich and famous Muslims from Mumbai have complained they are unable to get houses on rent or ownership in private housing co-operatives. This has resulted in minorities living in closed ghettos… Majority community finds exclusive housing on the other side. Common interaction opportunities are lost and traditional bonds come under stress. Such a situation tends to encourage fundamentalist and even extremist thought to grow and prosper,” it said.
The committee said the Revenue Department is the first agency that needs to be inclusive. “Title to land, clearing unauthorised trespassing or grabbing of land by others, registering for jobs under various schemes, granting loans, scholarships and benefits under various schemes, providing aid for self employment and providing aid after disasters are some of the fields in which benevolence of the Revenue authorities is essential,” it said.
According to the summary on health, it said that in Malegaon, it took a bomb blast to highlight “the basic lack of (health) facility”, after which a hospital was announced. In its suggestion, the panel said dispensaries, maternity homes and hospitals within easy reach of the community would “go a long way in assuring them that the authorities are mindful of their needs and sensitive to their requirements”.
Corporates also made no positive effort: Report
The report was equally harsh on corporates and said they have not made any effort to bring Muslims to the mainstream. “In absence of any directive or law mandating a portion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to spend on confidence building measures (CBMs) among the minorities, corporates do not consider such expense to be in their interest. Corporates prefer spending CSR funds and effort in activity which helps build “brand image” of their products and CBMs do not count among them. However, such efforts are worth making as CBMs are of importance as things stand today,” the report said.