On a day when Parliament debated the JNU arrests and the Rohith Vemula suicide, an officer in the National Commission of Minorities made an impassioned appeal for the security of minorities in presence of the minister, sources 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 Commission of Minorities in presence of Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Seeking “forgiveness,” from the Minister, Kumar reportedly said that he was digressing. The “mahaul (situation) in the country” is such that I cannot sleep at night, he is said to have remarked. Urging the Government to “allow us to live in peace,” Kumar said that he was a Hindu who studied in a convent school for Rs 3 a month and “lived amicably with all communities growing up in Bihar.” Kumar is a Bihar cadre IAS officer of 1984 batch. Before he was posted in NCM, he was in the ministry of social justice and empowerment.
Asked by The Indian Express what provoked his remarks, Kumar said: “What I said in the conference has been said. All I can say is that apart from being a bureaucrat, I am also a human being.”
Naqvi later told The Indian Express that he had asked the official to meet him. “The immediate context of why he said what he said is not clear. But I have asked him to meet me,” he said.
Kumar’s speech was welcomed by many participants in the conference who said that they had wanted to raise the matter of insecurity of minorities in the country but were not allowed to do so. Said K P Mariamma, member of the Kerala Minority Commission: “This unrest and discomfort is what everybody wanted to talk about but they were cut short. We were told not to raise national and international issues, stick to what concerns the state minority commissions. Our concerns were in the end raised by the Additional Secretary.”
In his speech, Naqvi said that “political competition” by some “so-called secular political parties” to weaken progress and trust of minorities is an issue of concern.