Minorities panel to Modi: we need to meet,discuss Muslim plighthttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/latest-news/minorities-panel-to-modi-we-need-to-meet-discuss-muslim-plight/

Minorities panel to Modi: we need to meet,discuss Muslim plight

The schemes targeting minorities are not making any headway,said Imam

Worried over what he calls “longstanding issues concerning minority welfare in Gujarat”,National Commission for Minorities (NCM) chief Wajahat Habibullah has sought a meeting with Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

While his letter makes a specific mention of those who are “internally displaced” — in the wake of the 2002 riots — and living in ghettos in the state,NCM member Syeda Imam says what is of particular concern is Gujarat’s failure to ensure that poor meritorious students from the minority community receive the pre-matriculation scholarships they are entitled to.

The schemes targeting minorities,which are sanctioned and even funded three-fourths by the Centre,are not making any headway,said Imam.

“Scholarships of at least 77,051 children are hanging fire as Gujarat has refused to release the money.”

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The NCM is facing this problem only in Gujarat — where the government,Modi has asserted,doesn’t believe in “minority,majority politics”. Even other BJP-ruled states are implementing the schemes.

Said Fakir Vaghela,Gujarat Social Justice and Empowerment Minister under whom the scheme falls: “We give scholarships to minority students under various state and central government schemes. We have not received any query from the minority commission so I don’t know what scheme they are referring to. If I get the letter,we will respond.’’

Imam as well as Habibullah have already made two separate visits to Gujarat in this regard.

Under the Central pre-matriculation scheme,the Centre gives 75 per cent of the funds the students are entitled to,with the states chipping in with the rest. As per the rules,the Centre releases the money only after the state has put its 25 per cent on the table.

Gujarat,alleges the NCM,has not put up its share of 25 per cent. According to Imam,during meetings with the Planning Commission in June and July,they managed to convince the Centre to make an exception and still release its share of 75 per cent.

“The CM has been making statements since July on not believing in ‘minority’ and ‘majority’. The file is stuck at his level,so we will have to meet him and persuade him to… help Muslims in the state and at least give them their due now,” says the NCM member.